Sunday, October 19, 2008

Reaching The Unreachable


The Calling of the First Disciples
18As Jesus was
walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and
his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were
fishermen. 19"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of
men." 20At once they left their nets and followed him.
21Going on from
there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John.
They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus
called them, 22and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed
him. (Matthew 4:18-22 NIV)

My scripture reading for today was from Matthew 4. My focal point; that which I am fixed on is verses 18-22. The story is of Jesus calling to people to follow Him and become disciples. These disciples were further exhorted to make disciples of others. That is the challenge for us in these verses.

The Holy Spirit desires to act in us to speak to other men about him. I recall myself when I was first saved. I had a desire to tell people about Christ and would discredit my witness by my continued indulgence in the world.

Christ calls us to abandon the things that we are preoccupied with. We must make a priority to establish a relationship with God and act on that relationship in our interactions with others.

Something that is truly a message in itself, is the effort that this Latin American man made. His name is Mr. Moralis. Mr. Moralis speaks English with maybe, the knowledge of 100 English words in his vocabulary. He desires a relationship with God, and understands that he must have quality relationships with men, for his relationship with God to be validated.

Being that Mr. Moralis does not know much English, he would have a difficult time speaking to us on our job, where most everyone speaks English. However, he demonstrates his desire is to fellowship with people. His understanding of the value of interpersonal relationships in his relationship with Christ is true. But, no one in this (work) environment speaks Spanish any better than Mr. Moralis speaks English.

One day, Mr. Moralis spent a lot of time attempting to tell us something. We asked him if he understood us, and he responded by pointing in his Spanish Bible to a verse in San Santiago.

We recognized a few of the names of the books around the location of “San Santiago” and determined that “San Santiago” was actually the book of James. The verse Mr. Moralis pointed us to, truly humbled us as we realized what it said against the patience Mr. Moralis displayed.

“My dear brothers, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen,
Slow to speek…(and slow to anger)”

We were absolutely humbled as we displayed happy, but red faced smiles. Mr. Moralis closed our little meeting with a prayer. His words, of course were in Spanish with some broken English. We recognized his petition for us as we heard the broken English pronounced;
“Brothers….Christos”

I shed a few tears. Because, honestly, up to this point, we were neglecting Mr. Moralis until he made his desire known. Which brings to mind a question: If we are going to make disciples of all people, why do we not try to communicate with those whom would appear as unreachable?

14 comments:

Vicki said...

This blog speaks to my heart deeply. First I want to respond to the idea of the unreachable people. I remember one time I was witnessing to a family with an attorney mother and an MD father. They seem to have everything but Jesus. I don't know where my witness ended, but they did attend church with us once.

Mr. Morales is such a good example - someone who speaks another language. How many different "languages" do we dismiss as unreachable, such as those who seem disinterested, hardened or just in another world of thought than ourselves.

I think of you as a young brash Christian desperately wanting to get others to have what you have, but not dedicated enough to display a diferent activity. Yet I believe the Lord used you because of your sincerity. After all, none of our testimonies are ever truly perfect. It takes the Holy Spirit to be of value.

I unsuccessfully tried to copy your paragraph that roughly says:
God asks us to abandon things that preoccuppy us. Our priority is to establish a relationship with God and then to act on that relationship through our interaction with others.
I hope these words are close enough to your thought. I see these words as those of a maturing Christian. I am striving to put Christ continually at the center of my thoughts and then have my behaviour reflect that focus.

Also, loving and giving are worthless unless we first submit ourselves, and commit ourselves through the atonement offered. Praise the Lamb of God!

Finally, the scripture in James that Mr. Morales sights is a goal of mine these days. I am striving to listen more and speak less. As you know, when I get excited I tend to complete someone else's thoughts and continue to talk on. Anger is a sign of lack of self control and peace.

Thank you for the richness of your blog, Dearest. I love being married to a man whom I admire so much.

Tamela's Place said...

Hi Jim,

Every human being wants to know that they are loved. I think where i have made mistakes in times past is that i would be so desperate to have the love of others that I would place God on the back burner and forget that He loves me more than anyone. In all actuality i was placing man's love for me on a higher level than God's love for me.

Being loved by others was very important to me and because of that i made myself a servant unto man and not unto God (Man became my idol). God taught me some pretty tough lessons, he allowed alot heartache to come into my life when it came to relationships. But in the process He was showing me that knowing His love for me was more important and that He is a jealous God and for me to desire others love and to overlook His made Him angry. After all He has shown and given me the greatest love of all.

No man loves me more than God and I love no man more than God. What i have learned is that I don't need to be concerned about whether others love me or not. I just need to know that God loves me and I love God and I love others.

As usual you have wrote another wonderful post on God's love and loving others, i have enjoyed it tremendously and I hope you didn't mind my little testimony.

Greg said...

Good point, Jim. I just started the book of James (once again) today.

I think our eagerness to witness to others, no matter how lost or unreachable they seem, is directly related to the level of faith we have in Christ and the Gospel. We must never lose sight of the fact that thousands are dying every day, who are headed for enternal damnation. If we are so confident that we have the Truth, the path to eternal salvation, then we should be beating down people's doors.

We're on the Titanic, and we alone hold the keys to the One Lifeboat that can save everyone. How many lost, hopeless people are we trying to take with us?

Time for me to work harder at practicing what I preach. Too long have I let myself get entangled in the daily routine of this life (job, hobbies, family, etc...) and neglected my witnessing.

thekingpin68 said...

In our everyday lives, on and off-line we need to pray that we will be open to sharing the gospel and Biblical truth with others.

I personally would like to remain open-minded concerning the type of person I communicate with in order that I do not write someone off or view them as 'unreachable' as you use.

Later, Jim.

Russ:)

jeleasure said...

Good job Greg.
I still need to get a picture of Craig to you.

jeleasure said...

Hi Russ.
That is nice that you leave things open and not write anyone off to be discipled.
"Unreachable", refers to my understanding of Mr. Moralis. It refers to my handicap of not knowing much Spanish. Not that anyone is unreachable. Believe me, I've been with some rough people whom I have considered the scum of the Earth. But, one day, I looked at these rough necks and realized that they all have someone who loves them and they love, as well. That is where one of my influences to understanding that God desired a family came from.

thekingpin68 said...

"Unreachable", refers to my understanding of Mr. Moralis. It refers to my handicap of not knowing much Spanish. Not that anyone is unreachable.

Thanks Jim, yes I read that in the article previously. I know the context. Thanks for the kind words.

Not that anyone is unreachable.

Yes. I leave the election business up to God.

Russ:)

Nitewrit said...

Jim,

What a powerful lesson in this post. Point One: everyone is our neighbor. Point Two: Jesus can reach anyone. Point Three: No barrier should stop our testimony or our witness. Point Four: Communication can be done without common language. Point Five: No one is unapproachable, whether they speak a foreign tongue, whether they can't speak at all, whether they have a disorder which makes speech difficult to understand. Point Six: Most barriers are erected out of fear or laziness, such as a person is in a wheelchair don't overlook them, humbly kneel and speak eye to eye. Point Seven: Implied from the verse you choose -- leave your comfort zone.

Probably more packed in your post than these.

Larry

jeleasure said...

Thanks Larry,
I did not really set out to claim as many lessons as you were able to extract. But, I guess I was just telling a story that speaks of how often we overlook the opportunity to unite in Jesus name, or how we overlook the opportunities to have fellowship with fellow believers because we feel we can't communicate. Or, do we over look the opportunity to witness to someone we can not verbally communicate with. Let us pray for creative ways to accomplish our witness and brotherhood among people we generally feel we can not speak with.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Hey Jim,

As I was reading your post I started thinking about my missionary friends in Belgium (The Belgium 5 on my sidebar). They're the sweetest family I know and have the strongest desire to witness of anyone I've every known. Mrs. Moogly and I were sad to see them leave, but were happy for the people that they would lead to the Lord in Belgium.

Having spoken with them often, they express frustration with trying to communicate in the language of the people. Many of those in the town they live in don't speak English very well and even though they're learning French (the language of the region they're in), they aren't fluent enough in it to feel comfortable witnessing in French. Their three young kids are taking to the language rather nicely, though! :-)

Anyway, in their frustration they still see the power of God as the Spirit leads them in their testimony of the Gospel even through the language and cultural barriers. They get frustrated sometimes, but the Spirit leads them in patience and encouragement to keep plugging away.

I can imagine that it is very difficult to have a strong, intimate friendship with people who don't speak the same language. And even though people may share the Spirit of God, a bond that is truly stronger than any familial bond, it takes a lot of effort on every person involved to give of himself/herself to make a lasting relationship.

I haven't been confronted with a situation like this yet; but I'm trying to see things through my friends' eyes as they minister in Belgium. And now with your post I'm even more challenged to make sure that I open my heart to people that I may find difficult to understand or communicate with.

Thankfully, by the power and work of the Spirit, we are capable of expressing the love of Christ to any and all who the Lord brings into our lives--whether we know their "earthly" language or not.

Thanks Jim,

GGM

jeleasure said...

Thanks for stopping by Jason (GGM)
I always enjoy your insights and comments, which are also insightful.
I've got some catching up to do on blogs. Maybe Saturday.
Jim

Vicki said...

Dearest,
Your message still speaks to my heart. It seems that God called the most unlikely people to be close to Him. Or perhaps it was the unusual ones who responded to Him.
We all have opportunity to take up our cross and to follow Him. I want to be one of those. And then I want to be an effective witness, to be one who aids people to understant the love of Christ.

Arlene Kasselman said...

Jim, sometimes I think it is easier for us to "believe in God" than it is to "believe God." We begin to think that some people are beyond reach - too hard for God to draw to himself. How wrong we are. He tells us over and over that He picks us up out of the pit and crowns us with His very nature, yet we don't believe that His power can reach everywhere and everyone. And so, many of us in our head begin the process of deciding who the "best candidates are" for Christ instead of just living out our faith in alive and active ways with all we touch, talk to and live with.

Good post, again!

Arlene Kasselman said...

I added a comment in my comments referencing your question. God was so good to us that week.