Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Investing in the Few for the sake of the Many
I was discussing ‘summer camps’ for teenagers with a friend whose son leads a very prestigious camp. ‘They only work with private schools’ she said. ‘They reckon that even these days, statistics show that most leaders have a private educational background, and the camp vision is to invest in potential Christian leaders, and through them to bless the whole church.’
I didn’t say so but it seemed unfair to me. After all Jesus didn’t look for 12 young men with immaculate backgrounds. The ‘band of brothers’ who formed his inner circle of twelve disciples were a very suspect group. An unscrupulous tax collector, an insurrectionist, someone who would betray him for a few gold coins, men with ambitions for themselves and fiery tempers when crossed … not very promising material .But he invested three years in these few men to whom he entrusted his message. If they weren’t effective in getting it out to the world when he had returned to his Father, there was no plan B.
And not only did Jesus invest in a few people, but he also knew what his mission was and when to say no. After an evening of healing people with many diseases and dealing with the demon possessed, the disciples assumed that he would continue to make the best of his popularity. But Jesus had other ideas. Mark 1:38
‘Let us go … to the nearby villages so that I can preach there also. That is why I have come.‘
What are you investing in? How good are you at focusing on what you feel to be God’s calling on your life? Do you have a dream? Are you prepared to put in the time and the commitment to see it come to pass? As we move through life we sometimes have to make adjustments. In his book ‘Put Your Dream to the Test’ Dr John Maxwell writes:
‘Going after a dream is like climbing a mountain. We will never make it to the summit if we are carrying too much …As we enter each new phase of the climb, we face a decision. Do we take on more things to carry, or lay down things that won’t help us climb, exchange what we have for something else or stop climbing all together?
The writer to the Hebrews put it so well in ch.12 ‘Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’ It won’t necessarily be easy but there is joy in the offering. Just as the sun, focused through a magnifying glass, can start a tiny flame which can end up as a roaring inferno, so can our focused efforts. And the key to success is to refuse to be distracted by the many things that clamour for our attention, and to fix our eyes on the One who has designed the race in the 1st place.