Responsibility With Folks In Other Cities
Dear Dave (and some other saints),
There are MANY kinds of “needs” in this world of spiritual shadows. A person who “NEEDS!” to be with people all of the time or is a basket case, doesn’t REALLY need us to be with them all of the time, right? In fact, the EXACT OPPOSITE of what they are “honestly crying out for” is what they really need. Skepticism, fear, etc. are never valid reasons for doing or not doing anything with people locally or from other countries.
Nonetheless, it is obvious that rushing in unwisely is potentially dangerous for “them” (whoever the “them” may be) as I’ve illustrated in the first paragraph. Things are not always as simple as galloping in on a white horse or a 747. More important than THAT, proceeding without Wisdom (because of the obvious “need”) is EXTREMELY dangerous for the immense investment we have in those that we *KNOW* God “has given us.” First priority, as with Jesus and the hundred thousand people in His part of the world that He did not spend but fleeting time with, is ALWAYS with those “the Father has given.” WHO has the Father given us? This is question number one and the vast majority of our investment. ALWAYS. Who did Paul spend his primary energy on? Notice any letters to unbelievers, or even much mention of unbelievers in his letters to the churches? WHO was he “in the pains of childbirth for”? Those that the Father had given him. “You’ve had ten thousand tutors, but not many fathers.”
Here’s the obvious. Risk is good. Foolish ambition, macho spiritual bravado to make us feel better about ourselves and “service of God,” and good deeds are not. I know this makes perfect sense to you, but in practice, emotions and sympathies and pride and feeling our own inadequacies and other things obscure God’s Viewpoint.
When we proceed in relationship, whether in Asia or Africa or wherever, it is important that we have our heads on straight spiritually, on all of this. Some we can encourage from afar. Some we can teach on a more dedicated basis, as well as receive as much as possible from them. Others we can “let our hair down” a bit and enjoy giving our hearts away to a small extent. Others, we can, because they are for real (unlike the rich young ruler, who had SO much positive about him)—these we can take responsibility for their souls and the outcome of their lives and entwine our hearts at the deepest level.
Heb. 13:17 weighs heavy on me, as it did on Jesus (Jn. 17). For WHOM will we be willing to face God and give an actual account, taking responsibility for exactly who they became?! WHO will we be willing to do this for? SERIOUS question. And the answer to that question determines WHO we expend the VAST majority of our time upon. We can pass by the multitudes, feeding them and teaching them for blocks of time as Jesus did. But in the end, pulling aside with the van load that came with us, to discuss and pray is what WE are ultimately called for. I can’t tell you how all of this has weighed on me over the last few years. Finding God’s Heart in this matter... dreading at times the innumerable dealings with immature “fishermen” that God “has given me”—while the grandiose adventure of Christian world-wide Events is laid aside time after time. The wash basin is far more difficult than the jet plane and microphone.
Another difficulty, at times is coping with the feeling of aloneness we encounter. While there are “7000” that have not bowed the knee to religion, and we have had the opportunity to relate to some of those, there is still a temptation to crave more acceptance or relationship. This is normal, but can lead to problems. We have, in the past accepted the praise of men, and some applause for the things we have taught about “radical” things—and have been blinded by our “need” for someone(s) to “agree” with us, into ignoring gaping holes in their lives and “fellowships.” Because they “agree” with “radical” thoughts and applaud us, they must be okay! Wrong. We have learned the HARD way that a person’s LIFE is not always sound in God’s Sight simply because they “agree” with certain things about God’s Word. According to the Bible, we CANNOT know a person, regardless of what they say or agree with until the Light has shown on the dark places of THEIR heart, and we see how they RESPOND. This is what Jesus said in Jn. 3, and the apostle John said in 1Jn. 1. It is the personal scandal, personal cost—not the belief system that shows whether a man TRULY loves God. The rest is fluff. And we have been fooled before because we were soooo hungry for some to walk with! It is tiring to have to see things around you all of the time that are heartbreaking. It is EASIER just to lower God’s Standard than to have your heart broken all of the time and have to dig in and try to help. Know what I mean?
And so, that heartbreak must NOT cause us to back away from genuine opportunities that God has given us to serve Him and those He is truly Calling. And the obvious EFFORT it takes to help a selfish, foolish man or woman come to know God’s Ways and change into His Character is UNBELIEVABLE. Can we go through all of that again and again?! But the Voice of God calls out... “Where there is love, there will always be RISK.” Yet, back we go again to the other side: Jesus saw something in the rich young ruler that He knew would rip apart those He HAD been given (those already walking with Him). And, it was MANDATORY that the issue be resolved BEFORE he could walk along with them. If it had been resolved at some later point, Rich would have been right there with Jesus and the gang through the thick of it and on into Pentecost.
“God’s House is built with Wisdom.”
May we always have His Wisdom, for His Name’s sake. Fearless in willingness to risk, yet relentlessly driving and sacrificing toward ONLY His goal, by His Wisdom rather than carnal reasoning. God help us.