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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Is Your Vision Small Enough?

These were his instructions: “Take nothing for your journey except a staff — no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.” (Mark 6:8-11, NIV)

I grew up in small churches. Each Sunday morning I couldn’t wait to enter the sanctuary and see the numbers go up on the Sunday School attendance board. Our board had something like this:

Attendance Today 43

Attendance Last Sunday 39

Attendance A Year Ago 48

Record Attendance 124

Attendance Goal 125

I knew we would never hit the goal. The record attendance had been set at a special occasion in the far-distant past. No one took seriously the goal of 125. Far better if we had had a goal of 50 for three Sundays in a row.

Jesus knew we need a small vision before we’re ready for the big one.

His ultimate goal was to send disciples into all the world (Mark 16:15), but He didn’t start there. He first gave the Twelve a limited commission with three distinct restrictions.

First, He limited their geography. Matthew records they were not to go to Gentiles or Samaritans. Why this restriction? At that moment in time, the disciples were too prejudiced against peoples of other cultures or ethnicities. When the Samaritans proved inhospitable to Jesus, the disciples wanted to burn down their town (Luke 9:54)! Jesus recognized the narrowness of their worldview; so He restricted their geography until they could begin to comprehend that God loved everyone (John 3:16).

Second, He limited their baggage. He told them not to take a bag (suitcase or backpack) or extra tunic. They could take sandals and a staff, but no gold, silver or copper.

Of course, it was practical to take the tunic (outer garment) for cold nights, sandals to protect the feet, and a staff to ward off wild animals — just nothing beyond that.

Later in the missionary journeys of Paul, his ministry team did take along resources, and so do our missionaries today. Why then this restriction? Because they needed to learn the baby steps of faith. They had to master the hard lesson that He is the Lord of supply!

The denial of food, money and extra clothing served as an extra incentive for them to do something with their ministry. They couldn’t just hole up somewhere and wait for things to happen. They had to get out and make contacts and do the work of the ministry. If they didn’t, at the end of the day they would be hungry and homeless.

Also, staying in the first hospitable home enabled them to concentrate on what they were supposed to do in that community rather than wasting time seeking out finer “digs.”

Third, He limited their words. He forbade them to get into arguments with people, telling them to shake the dust off their feet if persons wouldn’t listen. Why? Because they didn’t know enough to answer objections. In fact, at this point in the Gospel narrative, they still had not grasped what kind of Messiah Jesus was — that does not come until later (Mark 8:27-30). However, they had been around Him enough that they could (1) testify to what they had seen and, (2) demonstrate His works in the powerful deeds He did through them!

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, help me to do little things well, to live in the present rather than the future, to take care of small things rather than becoming idle while waiting for bigger opportunities.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years

2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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