“I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds. Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’ I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean’ “ (Acts 11:6-9, NIV).
How much of Peter’s resistance to the Lord’s leading was theological? How much was culturally influenced? His desire was to adhere to the Jewish laws, and they were clearly laid out for him. Contradicting those laws would fly in the face of his community.
“Surely not, Lord,” is a response I know all too well. Often, a fresh word from the Lord can seem contrary to what I’ve already accepted as His will for me. One would think that after walking with Jesus for this many years, I wouldn’t hesitate to obey His promptings. Yet when the “get up, kill and eat” kind of instructions come to me, I am quick to remind the Lord, “Surely not! That would not be a good idea, because I’m occupied with what you already told me.”
In 2009 my wife, Windy, and I relocated to the third-largest city in our state after having pastored for nearly 20 years on an island. Our home dramatically shifted from the once-tranquil cul-de-sac in the country with a mountain and water views to the pace and buzz of a city. My flatscreen TV hangs on a wall that is literally only four paces from a city bus stop.
Though we loved our assignment on the island, God beckoned us to the city. The demographic of people that we once sent missionaries to is now at the bus stop by my front door. The challenge for the Veaches is the challenge for all of us: “Get up, church, and go to the field that is now at your bus stop!”
“But Lord,” we might say, “they are not my demographic; they look to be impure. This couldn’t be your leading, could it?” We know we are all called to open our hearts with the love of Jesus to people, but we sometimes fight the urge to answer that call with, “nothing impure near me!”
The fields are white across the globe as well as at our bus stops. Get up, church, rise and love this lost and dying world to Jesus while this window of time is open; it might not be open much longer!
By: Dave Veach, district supervisor of the Northwest District
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