The Other Side
I am sitting in Minneapolis airport about an hour away from my flight to Singapore. After a 5 hour stopover it is on to Jakarta. Having been there twice before I am fairly certain of what will transpire over the next week. Long days in the seminary with pastors, an exciting dinner on Friday night with church planters from Borneo and a conference on Saturday with church planters from the Jakarta 100 initiative. Our prayer for Saturday is for God to find the leader for our third church plant in this country.
I’m excited to serve and can’t wait to see what God has done since I was last here. That excitement is fueled by the knowledge that I will be met and served lovingly by a faithful group of Christians who radiate the Gospel despite living in the largest Muslim populated country in the world. Their humble circumstances do not prevent these believers from being incredibly generous!
On the plane from Tampa I was reading Matthew 10. Jesus sends the disciples out as itinerants with specific instructions to acquire neither money nor provisions for their ongoing ministry. His reasoning is slightly unusual:
“the laborer deserves his food” (v10).
Receiving a blessing for their faithful ministry is not wrong in Jesus’ eyes. It was customary back then for Rabbi’s to receive a gift from the people whom they had blessed. The issue in this chapter is therefore not of reward but reliance. Jesus wants the disciples to learn the adventure of total dependence.
The thrust of Matthew 10 is the reliance of the Twelve on the Spirit (v1, 20) to do the work of the Son of Man. This reliance is taken to the extreme and becomes a benchmark for itinerant ministry of all ages. Itinerants are to minister with a commitment to be dependent upon the Lord to provide for their needs through worthy people. There are no guarantees in ministry except for one: God is with them wherever they go.
As I read that I smiled realizing the similarity and dissimilarity of my missionary escapades! It is similar inasmuch as God had called me to go and an arduous journey lies ahead. It is dissimilar inasmuch as these brethren have proven themselves to be more than worthy! I know what awaits me!
All of this has left me thanking God for the ‘comfort’ in my ‘discomfort’. I have 30 hours travel ahead of me! Ugh! Yet I know the hospitality that awaits me on the other side! It’s far easier heading somewhere when we know what awaits us!
The same is true for us all, of course. Those in Christ know what awaits us on the other side! It is far easier to embrace discomfort when we know what’s coming, isn’t it?
Why not join me in embracing the discomfort of today knowing that the blessing is certainly on the other side!