Sunday, September 20, 2015

Come And Help Us...

And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. ~ Acts 16:6-10

It doesn't happen often, but sometimes God's Divine Providence prevents us from following through on what would seem to be lofty and godly intensions. That was the case with Paul and Silas. The entire trinity, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, and God, forbade the duo to speak the Word in Asia. For the time being, someone else would be commissioned to sow the seed in that world.

It's in this story--one that I return to on a weekly basis--that we see something with a curious application that we could easily miss. God, it seems, knows where the greatest needs are and, just as importantly, how each of us is best suited to meet those needs. For Paul and Silas, it took a Spirit-inspired vision to let them know where the triune God wanted them: Macedonia.

As a pastor in a fledgling work, I appreciate--check that--adore God's concern for those who might be considered out of the way. I believe that the "Macedonian call" is in effect in our day and age. I believe that there are gifted believers who would find a better fit going where they are most needed, rather than staying where they are most comfortable or feel the mission field is more assessable.

As the pastor of a small village church, on a daily basis I pray the Macedonian prayer; Come over and help us. I believe in such prayer, and I believe that God will answer. Thirty years of church planting, pastoral work, and missions have shown me that there are many people who are in good churches, but at the same time are not engaged in advancing the Kingdom. Some of those people have found a much needed place of rest, anonymity, and feeding in the midst of a large congregation. I fully understand that. Been there. But like my own sojourn, you, too, sense an inner niggling urging you to go where you can be exponentially more helpful. You are gifted to teach, witness, mentor, or serve in a way that would bring incredible encouragement to a faith community that is lacking your spiritual gifting. You could make a difference in how far the message of the Good News spread.

So, once again tonight I sat down by the edge of the pond, tilted my head back, gazed toward the heavens and prayed, believing that the voice of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, and Father God would speak the words Come over and help us...

And someone would be listening.  

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