As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Matthew 10:7 (NIV)
Recently I heard a statement which made me sit up and take notice. It was this: “Don’t become so focused on the destination that you forget to enjoy the journey.” That’s good advice. So often in life we can be so focused on getting from A to B. Even in our everyday situations we can set ourselves ironclad goals and stringent objectives which leave little room for God’s intervention. The danger is that we miss the opportunity to minister ‘on the way’ and to be open to God’s leading ‘as we go’. As we read through the Gospels we find that a large proportion of Jesus’ ministry was actually en route from one place to another. The journey was important.
Matthew 28:19 is translated:
Therefore, go and make disciples… Matthew 28:19 (NLT)
But the original Greek construction of the sentence is, “As you go, make disciples…” Jesus was on the road a lot and many of His ministry opportunities arose in that context. In John 4 we see Jesus travelling from Judea to Galilee through Samaria. As He rested by a well near Sychar, He encountered a Samaritan woman. The end result was that she and many other Samaritans became believers. As He was on the road from Jericho, he ministered to Bartimaeus who received his sight. On the Emmaus road two despondent hearts trudged along and the Bible tells us that…
…Jesus himself came up and walked along with them. Luke 24:15 (NIVUK)
It wasn’t long before their burdened hearts became burning hearts and their lives were changed forever.
As He went about, what did He do?
You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 (NASB)
As He was on His way from one place to another, many were healed, lives were transformed, storms were stilled.
When Gordon MacDonald pastured Trinity Baptist Church in New York City, he would ride the same bus daily from his home to the church. One day the bus driver complained to MacDonald, “You’ve got it a lot better than me. You have an interesting job and travel different places. I just drive this bus up and down the same streets every day.”
MacDonald told the bus driver his job could be a Christian ministry too. “Every day, when you first get on this, before anyone else gets on, dedicate the bus to God for that day. Declare it to be a sanctuary for God for that day. Consecrate it to God’s glory, and then act like it is a place where God dwells.”
Several weeks later MacDonald returned from a trip and saw the bus driver. “You’ve transformed my life,” the man exclaimed. “I’ve been doing when you said every day, and it has made me see my job in an entirely new perspective.”
The same transformation can happen to us if we would adjust our attitude each day and realise life is about what happens as we go.