Go Out of Your Way
What are you doing with the mission that God has given you?
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and we all have a mission. It’s virtually the same as our Lord's and it is laid out in Luke Chapter 19 verse 10, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Oh, friend, it couldn’t be simpler or plainer. Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and our mission is the same. God saved us so that we might be His agents of mercy in sharing the Salvation message with others.
Now, there’s something you can learn from the way Jesus sought out the lost. In order to carry out His mission, He connected with virtually every person the Father put in His path, every kind of individual in every strata of society. He didn’t bypass anyone. Look at the ones Jesus sought out. In the first few verses of Mark Chapter 5, He befriends this guy with a serious mental illness, something no Jewish fellow would be caught dead doing. Then in Luke Chapter 5, He started up a relationship with a tax collector; a conniver and a known cheater. In John Chapter 4, He connects with a Samaritan: a woman who was a loner, a rebel. In Luke 15, we see Jesus going to parties with bums. He gets to know people with questionable reputations. He goes to see shut-ins, widows, and elderly folks. He connects with town leaders and magistrates. And as we’ve already seen, Jesus seeks and saves the lost among those riddled with disease and wracked with psychiatric disorders. Whoa!
Now here’s the thing: If we are to follow in Christ's steps and carry out His mission, (that is our mission) we have to do the same. It won't be easy; it’ll take you out of your comfort zone and you’ll be tempted to relate only to those with whom you identify, you know, people with whom you feel at ease. But if we want to follow Jesus, then it will mean making inroads, that is seeking out those we don't normally connect with.
My good friends Paul and Jill Miller recently lost Ashley, their adult daughter to an aggressive cancer. But when she was alive, even as the cancer was spreading and even as she was undergoing treatment, Ashley never forgot her mission. Because not only were the medical staff part of her mission field; so were the people she encountered on the way to the chemo clinic. Like the homeless people she would meet on the street or at red lights. Whenever Ashley went in for a treatment, she’d pack up small bags filled with items like socks, a tooth brush, tooth paste, a sandwich, a bottle of water, hand sanitizer, and a hand-written Bible verse. That way, when Ashley passed someone who was homeless, she’d have something to offer, something to show them the love of Christ. These homeless people never saw in this lovely, successful looking woman any indication that she was suffering horribly with cancer or that she would soon lose her life. But that made her effort even more glorifying to God. In her own loss, Ashley carried out the mission Jesus had given her – a mission He has given us all, to seek and save the lost at every cost.
Every day we bypass people who are considered outsiders, loners and second-class citizens. Yet God has put these individuals around us in our neighborhoods, on our street corners, at the mall and in parking lots. Ashely did not allow her cancer to deter her from her mission; in fact, her cancer expanded her mission field to people she might not have normally met. Like her, let’s make inroads in our community "mission field." Ashley sought out the lost. Can you do the same?