Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
Matthew 9:35-38, NLT
Reaping and Sowing
It's all good and well to say that we need to help harvest the fields of the unsaved, but how do we actually do that? For many of us, we hate to think of ourselves as evangelists, so I propose that we think of ourselves as missionaries in our own country. Today, we have people from different countries all around us and different religions. People who's lives are drastically different from our own, so if we apply missional principles to how we "harvest" then we will be much more effective.
Don Richardson, a Canadian missionary, traveled to a remote people group called the Sawi in Western New Guinea with his wife Carol and children. The Sawi were cannibalistic headhunters with no contact with the modern world or medical treatment.
Don and Carol learned the language and customs and Carol started to treat their medical issues. They were afraid they could never break through the culture with the Good News of Jesus, but one day they did. You can watch the full story here, but here is a short video about when their son later went back to the tribe.
Don and Carol's discovery transformed missions forever. What's important to note here is that they first had to get to know the tribe, be accepted by them, and love them. I imagine it wasn't easy. They watched them kill their own and eat them for ceremony's sake. They watched them be in constant war with the neighboring tribes. But they continued to love them and follow God's guidance.
Make a Friend, Be a Friend, Bring a Friend to Christ
Eventually, God gave them a way into the culture, and they were able to transform and entire people group. 50 years later and it still affects them. In our own community, we must make a point to become friends with those who God directs us to, loving them only because God loves them.
If that person is a different culture of religion from you, learn about him or her. Be a student of the person and don't spend every moment looking for ways to "correct" them, just love them.
This week, find someone to love as God loves in a missional way. Learn about his or her life, struggles, background, and journey. Ask God how you can be and hands and feet of Jesus to this person through the relationship. Eventually, God will give you a "peace child" moment where you can speak.
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