A Word from SEND International's International Director worthwhile to reflect:
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16).
Feeling some days like you are a sheep among wolves? Yet this is exactly where Jesus is sending us. If we are going to those places which are least reached, they will naturally be resistant, dangerous, difficult places. “Therefore,” Jesus says, “be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” I’ve always had an aversion to the association Jesus makes with snakes here, since my immediate reaction is to think back to the snake in the Garden of Eden. Yet when I think about chasing snakes as a kid, they always avoided me, trying to get under a rock or into a bush. I think what Jesus is saying here is that we need to be vulnerable as we proclaim, but when the wolves lunge, step aside. When they open their mouths, don’t jump inside. Like “doves” don’t give them any reason to accuse you of injustice or immorality. Courageous in witness, yet avoiding unnecessary persecution. Jesus frames these instructions with repeated affirmations of the value of the messenger and the importance of the message. We are sent by Christ (16), given words by the Spirit (19-20), assured that there is salvation at the end of it (22, 28), confident that God will vindicate and judge (23, 26), under God’s care (29), and valued by God (31). The overall message to us? “Do not fear” (19, 26, 31).
This is a sobering passage, yet one filled with hope. We are valued and loved. We are sent by our LORD Himself. We need not fear when things are tough, because He has promised to be with us to the very end. Feeling like a sheep among wolves? Remember who has sent you, and what He has promised to you. Then be fearless and shrewd and innocent.
While all kinds of ministry activities are important and necessary, “missions” is something unique. God draws us into His heart as we grow in Him. With that drawing in we also experience a sending out toward those He loves and for whom He died. When God’s sending carries us across cultural and linguistic and world view boundaries to places that are beyond the reach of the local church for the sake of discipleship and church planting, we call that missions.
Off the bookshelf
In preparation for one of those mission conferences, I reviewed the book “Missions in the Context of Violence.” This volume is a compilation of presentations given at a gathering for mission leaders and mission educators. In one chapter the author relates a poem written by a recent martyr in Iraq. In describing the missionary heart, she writes:
The missionary heart
Cares more than some think wise
Risks more than some think safe
Dreams more than some think practical
Expects more than some think possible
She later concludes “I was called not to comfort or success but to obedience.”
We are called by a Savior who has given His all for us, and who asks us to give our best that others might live. Thank you for your obedience to this call.
mobilizing God's people
engaging the unreached
establishing reproducing churches