People who don’t know Jesus.
We have to get to work because people are dying. Sometimes, prayer needs to take a back seat, after all, with so much work to be done. The worst thing we could do is all just sit around with each other in prayer circles! God has called us to GO!
Of course, this is true. God did tell us to go, to be His hands and feet.
But, when you look at the great missionaries of church history, the public leaders making the biggest difference today, and even the everyday Christians who anonymously march into the jaws of death to serve those most in need, you’ll find that those who plunge headfirst into disease, sickness and the utter evil that is sex trafficking and forced child labor, for instance, likely have a love relationship with God that fuels them, even to the point of being willing to die as they go.
Their fuel is their abiding relationship with Jesus.
The propellant of their lives is how they are spiritually formed in their inward lives. The thing that many leaders today say is a waste of time when so much work needs to be done is the very thing God uses to get the work done He wants to get done.
Today, many of the leaders who are fighting these battles and risking their very lives in the service of the Kingdom are burning out in record numbers because they’ve never integrated their inward spiritual lives with their outward, willingness to die-to-self-lives in service to their King. They maybe started strong but aren’t finishing well.
Christendom is littered with the charcoaled vocational carcasses of leaders who were going to change the world but forgot their fuel.
Ground zero of effective mission starts and ends at the cross. It’s at the cross where we find our deepest desires have already been fulfilled as we allow our lesser desires to be crucified. We watch our desires to be seen and heard, to find our significance through serving others, die on the cross along with Jesus and be replaced with His risen life. It’s at the cross where we find the freedom to pursue anonymous ministry work because we simply no longer care whether “we are making a difference” because we now only want to love others well knowing the difference has already been made.
It’s not our energy that people primarily need, or ideas, or even rice – we burnout, our ideas often fizzle out and rice supplies run out — it’s the Father’s love which has been wrought in each of our lives at great cost to our Savior. Yes, we need energy, ideas and rice, but those are secondary things. We need love more and so do others. And we were designed to receive love through our union with God and in relationship with others.
When we leaders tell ourselves and others that we don’t have time to spend significant time with God, that we don’t have time to deepen our relationships with others, that we don’t have time to waste sitting around singing kumbaya, we are depriving ourselves and others of the very thing that truly changes the world. And we are subtly teaching others to find their fuel apart from Jesus.
The thing that changes the world has to change us first.
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to be with His Father – even in the presence of great ministry need. Jesus often spent time alone with His twelve closest friends.
Jesus had time for that.
For the sake of those we hope to reach, I hope so.