March 10 – Go
He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2
How does God send out workers into the harvest field? As baby evangelicals, we first thought missionary work referred to far off uncivilized places. We quickly realized that we had missionary fields in our families, friends and neighbors, and we didn’t need to spend a lot of money to reach the lost because some were literally next door. This is one story that shows how God can use you as a harvest worker in your own neighborhood.
We just moved into our house, and as my wife and I were praying, I called all our neighbors into the Kingdom. What seemed like an unlikely request in human terms was not impossible with God. I believe He inspired my wife with an idea. My wife started a summer barbecue and Christmas dinner where all 32 neighbors were invited. They were progressive dinners, where 1 to 3 families would volunteer to host different parts of the meal in their homes. It was a marvelous vehicle for everyone to get to know their neighbors and tour their homes. Everyone was invited: lawyers, doctors, plumbers, the jobless, Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, drinkers, drug takers and even squabbling neighbors. We hosted many events, and of course said a prayer over the meal in the name of Jesus. Later, when other people would host, they asked me to say a prayer over their meal. A small sign for sure, but it encouraged us.
In addition, when we hosted several hundred ministry or faith-and-family political events, we asked all our neighbors’ teenagers to help us serve and bus tables. They saw fellowship that was different than their environment at home. If pastors were part of our guest list, we had them join us for prayer for individual servers that we had developed a relationship with. Through the years, many of our neighbors received Christ as their Lord and Savior and they started to go to church in our area. If the teenagers were saved first, they convinced there parents to join them at church and some parents became church leaders.
When my wife called neighbors for generating volunteers for hosting the dinners, several of the wives would open up about their family issues. To those, she offered consoling, and of course the discussion always ended with prayer. However, she also faced many rejections but she just moved on to the next neighbor. Have you ever resisted giving an invitation to an event out of fear of rejection? I have, and so had many disciples being mentored by the apostles. But before we move on to what the Bible teaches, let me state the obvious – there is a practical reality that people decline offers for many legitimate reasons: scheduling conflicts, money availability, baby sitter issues, sickness and transportation issues, some of which they don’t feel comfortable to share with you. But, as I studied the more serious side of this issue in the Bible, this is what I learned:
Even if your worst fear comes true and people decline your offer for no legitimate reason other than their God-given free will to reject faith events, it’s no big deal; because it is most likely not personal. The prophet Samuel was disappointed that Israel wanted a king to rule instead of him and he sought God about it. The Lord told Samuel, “they have not rejected you but they have rejected Me, something they had been doing since I brought them out of Egypt” and of course, it continues until today. When the disciples went out two by two into various cities, they were told in no certain terms to not be dismayed if anyone would not receive or hear them. They were instructed to move on to the next city and shake the dust off their feet as a testimony against them.
Friend, to be rejected is an honor that will be rewarded, not a stain.
On a side note, we’ve counted 16 of our neighbors and their children have received Christ. But God is not finished!
Today’s Prayer Focus: Pray that many will take the initiative to share Christ and an Easter invitation with others.