This month I give you an article from the Rural and Small Town Mission Newsletter from August 2016 written by Bruce Sutherland on overcoming outreach distraction.
There is an old story about a peasant who was caught stealing from his king. The peasant lived in a small village that was a journey of several days from the king’s castle. After being caught, the guilty man was promptly locked up in the village prison to await a public hanging the following week. In the meantime, the king heard of this peasant’s great remorse and with compassion the king decided to send a messenger to the far-off village with an undeserved pardon for the thief. The king gave clear instruction to his messenger to proceed directly to the peasant’s village. Along the way, however, the messenger made frequent stops to attend to other matters and took alternate paths. By the time he reached the peasant’s village he was shocked to discover the sentence was carried out two days earlier.
And so it is with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the pardon for humanity He has generously offered. He has called us as His ambassadors to deliver a lifesaving message to our fellow criminals. The fact is we aren’t much different than the messenger. When it comes to sharing the story of Christ crucified, we hesitate; we procrastinate; and sometimes we flat out wander from the task at hand. As God’s ambassadors we realize the Lord doesn’t need us to save anyone, but He does give us the great privilege of carrying His pardon for humanity.
As a perpetual procrastinator, I often wonder how I can stay better focused. Let’s look to Christ and His example. In John 4:7–26 we see Jesus on a mission to deliver a pardon to the Samaritan woman. One way to look at this passage is to see L.L.L.C. (Learn, Lead, Love and Cross).
- LEARN (verse 7): Jesus is on a mission and He starts a conversation in order to LEARN more about this woman. One of the easiest things we can do is to learn about and serve our neighbors.
- LEAD (verse 10): Jesus is the one who takes the LEAD to change the conversation from simple friendly stuff to spiritual matters. We should take the lead to transition the conversation to things eternal. We don’t need to wait for them because we may be waiting a long, long time.
- LOVE (verses 16–18): Jesus is continuing the conversation, and you will start to see both Law and Gospel unfold. Why do we need to talk about sin? It’s so that people see their need for a Savior. LOVE rejoices with the truth (1 Cor. 13:6), and the truth is we need to be perfect or forgiven. The Law helps people see that human perfection is impossible.
- CROSS (verse 26): Jesus knows her repentant heart and reveals himself as Messiah, which points to the CROSS. In turn we share Christ crucified (1 Cor. 1:23) so that all may know the love of Jesus.
LEARN, LEAD, LOVE and CROSS are markers along a journey we can use to stay on track and not get distracted.