By Jon Hirst
Divide and conquer… analyze and define… specialize and focus.
All around us, we hear the call to niche our lives, control our surroundings and manage our worlds. In school, guidance counselors always advise us to pick a direction and focus in. But I wonder what Jesus would say about our desire to focus our outreach.
In Matthew 4:23, Jesus’ ministry is broad and organic: “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” (NIV)
The picture I get from this verse is a Savior who sees needs on many levels. Jesus never said, “I don’t do that kind of outreach.” He saw into people’s hearts and used the tools at His disposal in order to show mercy and give hope.
Sometimes he used a story to break through old ways of thinking. Other times he used a storm to bring his disciples to their knees. You almost get the feeling that Jesus saw every word, every action, and every blade of grass as an opportunity to connect with people and show them who He was.
In essence, Jesus integrated His world to reach the whole person. His hands were busy healing, his voice was busy encouraging, his feet were busy covering ground, and so on. None were marginalized .- all of these were important.
Jesus encouraged Nicodemus with words that have echoed through history: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV)
At the same time, Jesus reached out and touched the most insignificant people of his time: “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not loose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42, NIV)
So the question is this, how will we use our voice and hands to represent Jesus? Do we think enough of Jesus and His message to use every part of our being to connect people to Him?
Think about your summer short term missions plans or an outreach in your neighborhood that you are planning. Are you thinking too small? If you are handing out tracts, could you also give those same people water? If you are painting a school, could you also bring Bibles for those in the neighborhood? If you love on orphans, could you also tell them Bible stories? And when your voice and hands are in motion, could you act in unison for greater impact?
We like to think of Jesus as transformational and organic, but both of those are true because He was intentional. Are you being intentional about your opportunities?
I work for HCJB Global and we have launched a contest to help people think through how they will be the Voice and Hands of Jesus this summer and win cash towards their trip at the same time. If you are doing any kind of outreach this summer and need support for your efforts, visit this contest to submit a description of what you are planning to do as the Voice and Hands of Jesus.
Jon is a missional thinker working for HCJB Global, a media and healthcare mission working to be the Voice and Hands of Jesus around the world. Jon and his wife Mindy live in Colorado Springs.