Monday, June 20, 2011

On a Mission to Hold a Hand.

Jesus decided that He must go hold her hand. This was the task before Him.

That was Jesus' response to the pleading of Jairus (Mark 5) who insisted that Jesus must come and heal his sick daughter. And, fortunately, when Jesus decides to do something He follows through. This is great news for a cross-cultural missionary.

But it was not easy for Jesus to hold her hand. Many times it is not easy for a missionary to follow through on his/her assigned task. Some things get in the way.

There was the issue of the crowd. They were there with open hands wanting Jesus to 'bless' them. Missionaries are met with the open hands, too. 'We can do the work if you pay for it.' 'We can't have a church unless you build us a building.' 'We want ____.' Sometimes, the needs of the crowds are overwhelming. Did Jesus get as frustrated with these people as I do sometimes? Did Jesus EVER get a visit from a national partner simply to ask, 'Hey, how are you doing?' instead of asking for a 'blessing' every time? I'm sure focusing on the mission to hold a hand kept him sane.

There was also the issue of the bleeding woman. Unfortunately, she had been tossed in with the crowd and her deep faith and deep need were hidden. Do I miss legitimate needs by focusing on THE CROWD and not THE PEOPLE in the crowd? I'm sure I do. This bleeding woman was relentless; pushing her way to Jesus, pushing her way to abundant life and with a touch of hope her body was healed.

Jesus knows everything. He knew what had happened. But ministry is not complete until a personal touch is given. The woman, although frightened, knew this, too. She came to Jesus and heard some incredible words: 'Daughter.' 'Peace.' 'Suffering is over.' When will I treat every person Jesus puts in my path as a daughter or a son? Jesus knew that the physical healing was temporary but the spiritual healing He gave to the bleeding woman that day would last forever. Her spirit would bleed no more because of her faith. Lord, help me to always look beyond the physical needs to the spiritual needs.

There was the issue of the messengers. The messengers brought the news that Jairus' daughter had died. But, Jesus already had before him the task to hold her hand. The messengers' news was not a deterrent for Jesus. He knew the God who had called Him to this task was aware of this development BEFORE the assignment was given. The Father is never caught by surprise. Jesus' response to the news was Faith. And, he told Jairus, 'Just have Faith.' Missionaries with no Faith will Fizzle before the Finish. Lord, help me to keep my eyes on the task you have given me and to do so with a heart full of faith.

And, there was the issue of the weepers and wailers. These folks are sincere. They either love the little girl or they are a part Jairus' family or both. They have an investment in this. Their heart is in the right place it seems. 'She's only asleep,' Jesus says. They laughed. They lost their opportunity to see Jesus work with a simple, faithless laugh.

They might have said, 'Your strategy won't work here, you don't know the problems, your presence here is making things worse.' As a missionary, I've heard all of those things (from other missionaries who can weep and wail with the best of 'em.). Lord, help me to remember that if you have called me to a task that You will be faithful.

Jesus entered the room. The hand He had come to hold was small and sweet. He took her hand and spoke the words, 'Little girl, get up.' The task was complete. A life was restored. A family was blessed. The Father was glorified. The weepers and wailers were silenced. The messengers began looking for another message. The heart of the formerly bleeding woman smiled upon hearing the news. The crowd made plans for the next event.

There are so many lessons here for those of us who serve as cross-cultural missionaries. The most important lesson for me is obedience. An important key to fulfillment in ministry is obedience. Jesus demonstrated that over and over again. There are many weapons the enemy uses to cause us to take our eyes off the task: the crowd, the messengers, the weepers, and wailers.

We have a calling to hold a hand, to share a word, to train leaders, to proclaim a Gospel of hope. Lord, keep my eyes focused on you and the task you have called me to complete.

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