Some time ago I had a delightful talk with a seasoned brother in Christ; one who has been pastor, church planter, denominational head and missionary. His current thrust is in missions and it will not be long before he arrives again in Africa. He was excited about the message in a very recent book by Larry Stockstill entitled The Surge (2012).
He looks at the major responsibility of the Church in terms of reproduction, the bringing of light into darkness.
He reminded me of the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. Mark’s Gospel describes how He had His disciples sit the people down in orderly groups of fifty or so. Then they distributed from the loaves and fishes to the first row of each plot; then the second, and so on. In this fashion it was assured that all were fed and that no one received too much or too little. Compare this to a group continuing to mill around, where it would be easy for the gluttons to come forward several times or for the shy ones to hold back.
My friend’s suggestion was that today in North America the front row keeps getting fed. With the next bit of ‘work for the Lord’ being that same front row. But the second row of each plot is the Ukraine, and the third is the Amazon and the fourth is the Soloman Islands, and so on. We don’t see past our own!
How much unlike the ministry of Paul the Apostle is this agenda. He would spend some time with a fellowship; deposit the good seed of the Gospel account and righteous living, and then move on to the untouched. He would trust the powerful work of the Spirit to protect against error, strife or imbalance in those left behind.
We have eaten…and eaten well. Time to push away from the table and deliver meals. If we stay, then the lethargy and the ennui will soon bring on the strange and dangerous foods of excess, distraction and indulgence. Sadly, they have already come.