It’s pretty easy to get focused on those close to us when we think about reaching out to the lost. If your child doesn’t know Christ, or your mom or dad, or your spouse, it’s fairly easy to forget about what’s going anywhere else, and focus only on them. It’s also easy for us pastors and church leaders to think that what is really important is what is going on in our locale, our city, our neck of the woods. Believe me, I personally have narrowed my focus too many times.
But our call is to more than our Jerusalem. It is also to all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest parts of the earth (Acts 1:8). To this end, I had a Navigator leader who once told me that he thought Matthew 13:38 was the key verse of the BibIe. I think that was overstating it, as it is hard to get the gospel from this verse, but there is no doubt that it contains an important truth:
The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,
Matthew 13:38 (ESV)
That man was thinking of the first five words of this verse in particular: The field is the world.
Not my backyard, not my town or city, not even my county or state. The field…is the world. And yet how easy it is for us to forget the great needs of the world.
But Christ calls His people to be World-Christians. I’ll never forget George Verwer, the founder and leader of Operation Mobilization talking about this – I think it was at the 1984 Urbana missionary conference where he spoke of holding a globe up during his morning prayer time, and crying out, “Lord, I love the world!!!”
And we should. We should love the world because God loves the world. Yes, of course, our heavenly Father loves the ones we hold dear. But he also loves the journalists of Charlie Hebdo in France, and the Ebola victims of Africa, and the persecuted Chinese.
Our Heavenly Father loves the world, and it is the field to which all of us have been called.
Short of going overseas longterm, my application for this has been to try to pray for the world semi-regularly. I get a daily email from Operation World which has helped. Now, I confess, I have a ways to go – I too often skip over this part of my daily prayer time, but I do get to praying for the world more than I used to.
And that’s good, because my field, just like yours…is the world.
Our reading for Tuesday, January 19: Matthew 14
January 19, 2015 at 11:22 am
Balance is the first word that comes to mind, I think the first paragraph alludes to that.
If my yard if filled with dandelions, the seeds will be blown into my neighbors yard and infect his too. I must care for my yard (field) so that my neighbor’s yard (field) is also cared for.
I care about my neighbor (and his neighbor, etc.), so in this case it starts in my yard and then I can then go help with his. If I help in his yard without caring for my own, his will continue to be infected and mine has been neglected.
So I take care of my yard first with the desire to also care for theirs.
As we intentionally disciple those closest to us, we will in turn create disciples – some that will be called to go into the world caring for many fields!
January 19, 2015 at 11:55 pm
Good word, Paul! To be sure, we can’t help but care for those closest to us. I just think this comes naturally. It’s caring for the world that takes an extra focus.
January 19, 2015 at 5:32 pm
What do the birds resting in the branches (vs.32) in the parable of the mustard seed? Because birds in other parables are taking seeds away as in vs. 4.
January 19, 2015 at 5:54 pm
What do the birds represent? Is what I meant to ask.:)
January 20, 2015 at 6:33 pm
Kathy, I’m honestly not sure. I don’t think they have a deeper meaning. Jesus is simply trying to show that the word sometimes doesn’t take root.