Discovering Ministry in the Midst of the Stuff – Part 3

Discovering Ministry (2)

Sweating for the Bigger Stuff

I came to Global Missions, two years ago, after spending twenty-eight years on the mission field, because of love:

  1. Love for God
  2. Love for missions (Missio Dei; Latin for the “Mission of God”)
  3. Love for the missionaries
  4. Love for souls

That’s the big picture; one that I cannot allow to become blurred. It’s a matter of survival. Without the big picture I lose focus and become frustrated. I start sweating the small stuff.

Many have heard of the book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things From Taking Over Your Life (Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff Series). It’s encouraging stuff; light reading with huge punch.

One person wrote, “’In fact one of the greatest things I read in the book was a little chapter called ‘Remind Yourself That When You Die, Your In-basket Won’t be Empty’. Some other thought provoking chapters are entitled ‘Ask Yourself the Question: Will This Matter a Year from Now?’, ‘Search for the Grain of Truth in Others Opinions’, ‘See the Glass as Already Broken’, ‘When in Doubt About Who’s Turn it is To Take Out the Trash, Go Ahead and Take it Out’”

I struggle with the finding ministry and productivity in the small stuff I do. The challenge is to find the Mission in the minuscule, mundane, menial, and minute; to view the moment in light of eternity; to go beyond the mediocre for excellence. We’ve got to have that. It’s a matter of survival; life and death for success in overall ministry.

Seven Things I Know About the Harvest

The harvest is important to God (Matthew 9:37-38).
Scripture refers to Him as “Lord of the Harvest.”

The harvest is precious; it costs something (Psalms 126:6).
They were weeping, and it was considered precious seed because it was the last seed they had in the house. They were going to use it for planting and there would be nothing left.

The harvest is promised (John 4:35).
The time of harvest is now; already (John 4:35).
But there are times that God asks us to wait on the harvest.
There is always a time to plant and a time to harvest (Eccl. 3:2).
Everything has its season (Eccl. 3:1).
We should not be weary in well doing. In due season, we will reap, if we don’t quit (Galatians 6:9).

The harvest is by faith (Eccl. 11:1, 4-6).
We are not moved by what we see. We are moved by the Word of God, the will of God, and the work of God.
We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
We call those things that are not as if they already are (Romans 4:17).
If one observes the wind, clouds, or storms he will not sow. Despite the circumstances, sow anyway.
Our faith is not in the unknown. It is in the unseen.
I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed (2 Timothy 1:12).

The harvest is big (Matthew 9:37-38).
God has a big harvest in mind.
Again it is promised.
Requires harvest-minded workers.

The harvest is measurable (Galatians 6:7).
It is the law of the harvest.
The same measure is used to measure to us again (Luke 6:38). It is considered to be a “good measure.”
What we sow, is what we reap; whether good or bad.
It isn’t just about money. It is also about souls.

The harvest is celebrated (Acts 2:1).
The Day of Pentecost was part of the Feast of Pentecost; a harvest celebration.
God skillfully and strategically selected such a harvest for the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, and the launching of the New Testament Church.

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I Wanted it so Badly

I wanted it so badly. I daydreamed about it. I plotted. I pleaded. I hoped. I envied. I needed it; desperately. Other preachers had one. Why shouldn’t I? I rationalized. My study habits would increase. I would be better prepared. I would simply be better. Better everything. That is; if! That is if I had an iPad. An iPod; my miniature iPad was simply not enough. I waited. I watched. I wondered. Days passed. Months flew. Years accrued. No iPad. Did I mention I wanted it so badly? I had a missionary friend with i-everything. He got an iPhone, an iPad, and even a Mac in a matter of days. Scoundrel! People just gave these precious items to him. I know I should have rejoiced with him. I tried. But, I wanted it so badly!

How much are you willing to pay for something you want really bad? How badly do you want it? I’ve often thought, here in North America, you can afford just about anything you want. That is, if you want it badly enough.

A seventeen year-old boy in China wanted an iPhone and iPad 2 really bad. He was recruited through an online chat room to sell one of his kidneys. It was a small organ and a small sacrifice to get what he truly wanted. He received around $3,500.00 while the buyers received $35,000.00 for the deal. The boy received a mere ten percent. The surgeon, organ brokers, and hospital contractor have all been arrested. Today, the boy is suffering from kidney failure. Unbelievable. This boy was willing to give a kidney, put his life in danger, in order to get a couple of technological trinkets. Silly? Certainly. But you have to understand. He wanted it so badly!

I well remember life on the AIM program. We had a grand total of $12.79 come in the first month after being married. I’d do it all over again. The sacrifice was worth it as men and women were trained, were sent out, churches were started, and literally thousands were baptized in Jesus name and received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The absence of the spirit of sacrifice will only cause the dismantling of the global missions cause. Calvary demanded sacrifice. It always has. It always will. The early church was built upon it. The forming of the United Pentecostal Church International solidified it. This has not and cannot change. From the beginning it has always been about taking the whole gospel to the whole world. So, that brings it down to the real question: how much are you willing to pay to ransom a soul?

I’m going to repeat that a mere second, a line, and the beginning of a paragraph later: how much are you willing to pay to ransom a soul? I know “ransom” has such a malicious connotation in this world plagued with terrorism on every continent. But, it is a Bible word, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). This is something that is good and acceptable to “God our Saviour.” He wants “all men to be saved.” He wanted it so bad that He “gave himself a ransom for all.” Paul testified this was the reason he was in the ministry. The bottom-line of why I’m a preacher is to give myself “a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:3-7).

I suppose there are other words that maybe would soften the word picture conjured in our minds when we think of “ransom.” But, that doesn’t change the reality or the gravity of the matter. “Ransom” means “payment” and comes from the Latin word “redemption” which means “buying back.” God has placed us in the “ransom” business. Together, with God, we deliver, rescue, liberate, get back, recover, regain, retrieve, release, and salvage. We march right into the enemy’s camp and we forcefully take back what rightfully belongs to God.

There are other things that rightfully belong to God and require careful stewardship and management. Our blessings are the resources we have to advance God’s kingdom; at home and around the world. The early church possessed things instead of being possessed by things.

It all comes back to the same question. With over seven billion people in our world, and being privileged to be a recipient of this life-changing and life-saving apostolic message, how much are you willing to pay to ransom a lost soul? Winning a lost soul; I want it so badly!

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