… the spirit told me to have no hesitation—Peter (Acts 11:12)
It was part of Peter’s explanation/defense of the landmark visit to Cornelius, equally buttressed by…
So if God gave them the same gift he gave us…who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way? (v. 17)
No doubt that Peter’s vision in Acts 10 and the subsequent Cornelius encounter exposed an unimagined mission frontier.
…have no hesitation…
The words are like a mirror to me. By disposition, I’m a hesitater. I’m better, but still, a hesitater, especially when it comes to exploring mission frontiers.
It makes me think. Why do I hesitate when exposed to my own vast mission frontier?
Here’s what I’ve concluded:
FULL When life gets full and noisy, it’s harder for me to “hear these words of mine and put them into practice” (Matthew 7:24) let alone to venture into the frontier trusting Jesus “without a purse or bag or sandals…as a lamb among wolves” (Luke 10:3-4).
FUZZY FOCUS Opportunities of all kinds become distractions that lure me away from the unique contribution God has designed and invited me to make in His mission.
FEARS My fear of failing…it’s a part of my shadow side. It offers reason enough for me to hesitate. Couple that with opportunity for awkward disorientation of doing the new and unfamiliar. It’s a lifetime of reasons, and unfulfilled purpose, for me to hesitate. (I could preach with articulate boldness from a pulpit and be scared to carry a conversation and be a friend to a sojourning neighbor!)
FINGER POINTING For too long in early years I pointed at “them” …the congregation, people in general, whomever…as the reason for our inability to enter new mission frontiers. I’ve been slow to recognize that the biggest obstacle was not “them” but my own refusal or inability to lead myself well.
A few years back, Gail and I stood on the edge of a chasm looking into the mission frontier called our neighborhood. A vast mission frontier. It had been there a long time. We were wondering about being simple, ordinary missionaries with the ten homes around our Illinois home. We hesitated. Me more than Gail. Then one day we jumped, stopped talking and just jumped. Got some help and jumped farther…with all my fears and disorientation in tow. Today it’s a way of life, an exhilarating way of life. We’re never quite sure when we’ll discover God at work in folks in our frontier.
Now that we’re in Nashville…we’re having fun in this vast mission frontier. Overcoming my “hesitater” brings a fresh richness to my journey.
The people in your congregation are risk avoiders. They’ll stick with the pack. They are hesitaters staring (oftentimes helplessly) at the vast mission frontier where they live, work and play. But, every once in a while, somebody breaks from the pack, stops being the hesitater, and creates an example for others to imitate.
What do you think?
PLI exists to help leaders like you discover joy and boldness in plunging yourself and/or your congregation into your own mission frontier.
Rev. Dr. Jock Ficken