• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

First things first: a right heart for mobilizing


By Dave Martin – Papua retiree

The job is huge…  impossible…  finding enough quality people to establish reproducing churches among the unreached of our world.  There’s too many of them.  We need many more good missionaries.   What if…. for starters, we had 100 more?

Our situation is not unlike the need to feed the great crowd who had been following Jesus for three days and had nothing to eat.  Check it out in Mark 8:1-9.  There were about 4,000 needy souls and no apparent resources to meet their needs.  But Jesus was there!

He who had fed a few million with manna for forty years, could certainly take care of 4,000 all by himself.  Omnipotence.  Wow!  Did you see that!  But no, our Lord wanted to teach his followers something.  It would serve them well in the days to come – in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria… you get the picture.

The disciples asked, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”  A valid question, but before the disciples asked “how” Jesus expressed the foundational truth to their mission and ours: “I have compassion for these people…”

When he called his disciples together to talk to them about the needy crowd, the first thing out of his mouth was the expression of his heart.  His love for broken, hurting, hungry humanity:  “I have compassion for these people…if I send them away hungry to their homes; they will faint on the way.”

The disciples were to be conveyers, not only of the multiplied bread and fish but of the tender compassion of his heart.  He would fill their hands with the food to distribute, but he longed for their hearts to be filled with his heart.  It’s as if he says to them, “I love these people, and I want you to love them too.  I want you to see them with my eyes.”  That’s what comes first.   Before our hands are filled with the resources, our hearts must be full of Christ’s heart.  First things first.  That’s the heart of it.

This is no mere theory.  This is foundational truth.  Our mission is first a heart matter. For starters, 100 new recruits would be great, but only if our hearts, and theirs, are filled with the Savior’s passion for the world.

3 Responses

  1. Dave, thank you so much for this pertinent reminder! Unfortunately, this foundational truth can be easy to lose sight of. Just like the rest of the world, we can get overwhelmed by numbers and outcomes without paying mind first to our Father’s heart for the lost and the knowledge the He has a plan for reaching them far better than one we can construct, and a method for attracting new workers to meet the need. Though we see it as a monumental task, your scriptural examples remind us that we serve a God of the impossible and we ought not forget to continually express dependence on Him and allegiance to His passion, His vision and His mission.

  2. I am a retired WT missionary from Moldova and had the opportunity in my native city of Charleston to find a Russian refuge couple and spend time with them this past Sunday. During that time I realized how much I had become inculturated into the Russian culture and truly love the people of Russia and Moldova. I have had a rough year of adjustment back to my own culture.
    This is my plea that people wouldn’t “sign up” for missions without counting the cost and expecting the impossible and having a heart for the people. We never worried about numbers. We just wanted them to know we loved them.

  3. Yes, Dave, I need the reminder…often. CFD Moule similarily helps us to focus:
    This is precisely what distinguishes the New Testament Gospel from a great deal that has passed for Christian teaching ever since. The moment you get to “second-generation” Christians, the danger arises that they may forget the vital thing which changes life—the power of Jesus, crucified and risen—and preach and teach instead the results rather than the cause.
    — as cited in http://www.movements.net/2010/03/09/the-gospel-of-the-second-generation.html

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