By: Lawrence Norris
The relational world we live in is governed by social norms and etiquette that shape our decisions more than I think we care to admit. Is it too late to call? Did I just cut them off? Were they waiting for that parking spot? Will they be mad if I take the last tortilla chip? We care about, for good reason, what other people think and we want to carry ourselves in a manner that reflects well on us, our family and even our Heavenly Father (Philippians 1:27).
Every once in a while, our lives include circumstances, crises, or problems that drive us to push through social parameters in order to address the issue. My daughter was sick the other week with a very high fever. We saw the doctor who prescribed the proper medicine, but all that I could do was wait for the prescription to be filled. A short time later, with car keys in hand, I called the pharmacy to double check that it was ready for pick up.
“Sir, we have not received anything for your daughter.” Excuse me?!?!
Now I am normally a patient guy, but when my kids are suffering certain etiquette gets put on hold. So I called that doctor’s office back and in a very clear message, told them “they needed to send that script over right now!” I stayed on the phone until I was confident that it was being sent.
The situation was important enough that I couldn’t afford to keep silent. I needed people to know how important that this was and that I wasn’t going to stop until my daughter was taken care of.
Luke 11:5–8, tells a similar story.
A man has a friend arrive late only to realize that he has no food to offer his guest. So, at midnight he goes to another friend to ask for bread. Who would be bold enough to wake up a friend or neighbor after midnight to ask for some food? I mean I would just tell the guest I’ll make him breakfast in the morning.
Understandably, the friend and neighbor responds ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? Verse 8 clearly lays out that the man’s persistence is what will ultimately create action and ultimately success in resolving the problem.
8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.
There are times in this life where the Gospel shakes up social norms and can potentially cause discomfort. A necessary discomfort, in my opinion, that results in people getting involved by combining resources to make a much-needed difference.
Those of us that are in roles where we raise our own support need to ask ourselves, how important is it to me? If it’s not important to us why would anyone partner with us to make a difference? To help us answer this question, here are a few ideas to wrestle with.
- What problem are you tackling?
- Can you clearly pinpoint what issue you are working to resolve? Can you articulate the scope and scale of why you are needed? The more you know your mission the more people will have confidence that you will be able to make a difference.
- Who is depending on you?
- This should include general people and specific people you meet as you dig deeper into your mission. Jesus came to save the world, all of humanity, Jews and gentiles, you and me! Knowing individuals you are helping makes your mission very personal and powerful.
- How important is it to you?
- How do you connect personally to this issue? Can you step away from this work at any time or are you willing to call every friend you have in the middle of the night because you can’t sleep until the problem is solved?
- What solution are you providing?
- Your approach will be refined the longer you are serving in any area. So to whatever level you are able to, share your vision and game plan. When people can understand what you are doing, they will want to empower you to extend your solution further and deeper into your mission field.
- Who is calling you to this work?
- If your answer is not one of, if not all of, the following: God, Jesus, the creator of the heavens and the Earth, Yahweh, Emmanuel, Adonai…… then you should probably stop and reassess your life plan. If we are mobilizing God’s people and their resources, then we must make sure that He is the one commissioning us to the work.
- How will their life be impacted?
- Life Change is contagious. We are all saved and part of God’s family because someone before us had an encounter with someone who had an encounter with Jesus. The people you are serving today experiencing life change will have a similar rippling effect into the future. Spend some time with the Lord allowing Him to give you a glimpse into how your efforts could change the world of tomorrow.
Let’s take a moment and talk about the soundly sleeping friend that was awoken by the knocking on the front door. He was probably sleeping in a one room hut directly next to his children and wife just feet away from the closed door. He ultimately got up and provided aid because he realized how important this was to his friend. Persistence and passion!
People are drawn to passion, and they are influenced by persistence. You are surrounded by friends and neighbors who God wants you to share your passion for your mission with. God wants to put on display your tireless effort to make a difference in a way that will cause people to take notice. God is wanting people to get involved in building His Kingdom and to care for a world that desperately needs Jesus and God wants to use YOU to stir them into action.