We are heading out to the Missions Conf in Austria today. It's my favorite time-a week filled with amazing bible studies, great fellowship, great food, worshiping the Lord!!!
I don't know who the speakers are this year. Usually we find out ahead of time, but I just can't remember who they are. I am sure it will be a blessing whoever ends up teaching.
A few weeks ago I was reading John 4. What is it that you usually think of when you read John 4? We know it is about the Samaritan woman-the woman at the well with different husbands and even a guy she's not married to at the moment. The great teaching by Jesus on living water...how could we not be encouraged through His teaching!
Once again, I found myself amazed at His Word! Amazed that each time we read it, the Holy Spirit ministers to us in a place we hadn't thought of before. This time it was v4 that had me journaling away.It's a verse all to itself. One little verse, one small sentence amongst some incredible dialogue. A little snippet at the begining of a chapter where Jesus would teach us the importance of how we are to worship Him.
He needed to go through Samaria. What was it that was so important? Why would He choose Samaria...a place that was off limits to the Jewish people. Who was He to meet? Perhaps if we didn't know the rest of the chapter we might think there were some pretty important people waiting to see Him. Perhaps there was a huge crowd of people awaiting His presence and they didn't even know it. Some big hoopla going on in the town and Jesus could go and preach and reach a whole bunch of people at one time.
Once we are familiar with the story, we realize there were no important people, no big crowd, none of that. There was only ONE woman at the well. She was just doing business as usual. To her it was just another day. But this day, Jesus Christ had need to be there.
This ministers to my heart so much. Being in Baja for 7 years in a small city, one that wasn't among the places people were standing in line to come to, makes me appreciate my Savior so much more. We often hear of so many wonderful events, churches that are doing this and that, having this guest and that guest, putting on concerts, plays, you name it, they are able to do it. One outreach team after another is just waiting to be invited to go and minister in these fun places. People want to go where it is exciting, where there already is a lot of action so they can be a part of it. There's nothing wrong with that at all. It is difficult to be on the other side. In the small place where maybe things aren't so exciting, the budget is whatever you have in your pocket at the moment and your email inbox isn't flooded with curious people wanting to know when they can come and help out in your church or when they can bring a team to your city.
But, Jesus had need! I love that it doesn't say that "and on the way to where He was going, He stopped off at Samaria for a drink of water". He begins the chapter with the fact that He had need to go to Samaria. Jesus is God! He knew there would only be one woman at the well and yet He had need to go meet her. He had need to meet and minister to this one person. He could have spoken those same words to a crowd of people but He chose to first say them to her. This really is awesome!
What do we think about ministering just to the one? If we have a bible study and only one shows up, do we cancel? I remember in Baja that exact thing happened. I was doing a summer study with the teen girls-A Young Woman After God's Heart- and this particular evening none of the girls showed up except Marla. After waiting a bit to see if the others would show up we came to the conclusion it was just us. Marla was ready to go home since "noone" was there. But, the Lord showed me that Marla was there-she was one and she was important. Yes, we had the bible study. Of course at the time, she probably wasn't thrilled since all my attention was on her :) But, I think it was important that she knew she was important. This type of thing happened many times in the 7 years I was in Baja. Women's study and maybe only one other girl and I would be there and we were both so wanting to just cancel and go home because we were tired but it always ended up that we were so blessed by the time we had to spend together.
Many times people wanted to start some home group or venture off into a neighboring village or city and would talk to Jim about it. It's one of the main things he shared with them-if you start it you must stay with it. Too many people quit because it didn't meet their expectation. I remember Jim always saying that you have to be willing to show up faithfully even if one person is there. Too many aren't willing to do that. They want great results. After all, in the book of Acts, God added to the church daily and so many people got saved....doesn't happen like that all the time.
We may never know until Heaven what impact ministering to the one had. Remember this woman went back to her neighborhood and told them all!
A crowd is wonderful, but it's not the only way. Having the pews filled in the church only mean something if the people in them are taking what they hear and learn and apply it and faithfully walk in the things they are being taught. Face it, there are all kinds of churches filled to overflowing with people. Does that mean they are more successful or better than the church that has more seats than people? Absolutely not!
What refreshment God's Word brings to us. I love how we are encouraged by it. I love how Jesus makes sure that we see different types of ministry-we see the crowds-crowds to the point He wants to get away so He can have some quiet time....but He allows us to see the one. He shows us that both are good and both are so important to Him.
Do you have need to go to the one today?