One of the things we have learned about doing the work of a missionary is that we need to bear in mind that there are many different requirements on our time. Despite this, we need to be spiritually sensitive to the opportunities that the Lord brings to us. There are a multiplicity of different things and ways to zap your time. One of the things that we don’t talk enough about is the need to discern between the time zappers prevalent in the countries where we work, and the genuine Holy Spirit moments that turn out to be the most important things we are going to do that week. We may have no idea they are coming along, but God does.
Before we get into the examples, this is an encouragement to ask God for this gift of discernment; “Lord, show me the opportunities while helping me to stay on track.” Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well is a classic example. He and his disciples were passing through the area, going somewhere else, and yet it was at that moment that the Lord chose to meet this woman with a checkered past. It was through this meeting that the Lord took the opportunity to give the Gospel message to the entire village. He knew He wanted to be at the well at that moment. That is the type of discernment we need.
Recently, we were getting ready to move. We had a million and one things balancing in the air, and in the middle of that, I got an invitation to go hunting with some local friends about three hours away. My wife was the one that was sensitive enough to say yes, you should go. As we became tired from chasing after partridges and rabbits, up and down hills, I was given the opportunity to hear my friend’s story of a chronic heart condition that is stealing his health and joy and will require major surgery soon. Despite claiming to be Islamic, and I’ve been told he was actually looking deeper into Islam, he was willing to let me pray for him, although he knows we are Christians. I asked for divine healing in his life and health in Jesus’ name, and he thanked me afterwards. If I hadn’t been willing to listen to the Father’s prompting, would I have had that opportunity?
My wife, although frantically busy with homeschooling our children, keeping house, and learning a foreign language, has made it a point to make time to regularly meet with a couple of young ladies. She is teaching them English as well as mentoring and discipling them about how to share with their non-believing family and friends. One of the young ladies recently gushed to me about how much she admires my wife and wants to be like her. Her own parents aren’t believers, so the believing elder sister she looks up to is my wife. Had my wife not sat down with the calendar and found a way to squeeze out one more hour a week to meet with her, would this young woman have taken the time to join a local group that is out sharing their faith with their fellow university students?
Teach us, Father, not to lose our focus, to stay on the road You told us to travel down, but also to be willing to stop at the “wells” along the way.