“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” – Matt 13:45-6
Like many others, we have had severe criticism for placing such great emphasis on going out into the marketplace and opening our mouths about the person of Jesus Christ. What a waste of time it is.
Many who have sought out our small gathering, looking for an alternative to more conventional church, have been sorely disappointed when they hear the great emphasis we put on ‘going out.’ It has cost us many potential friends and adherents who may otherwise have been keen to join us (just think of how big a “church” we could have built, had our focus been on great praise and worship, or lively preaching).
We have at terms felt great hurt and despair. Lord, is this really what you want – if so, where are all the others? Just a few of us against a flood of unbelievers. What chance do we have? We know that almost everyone involved in a disciple making process feels the same way, overwhelmed with the task, and the lack of support.
But, for those of you who have persevered with Sally and I over the years – those who endured our scepticism, and doubts, who continued to challenge and cajole and pray, even when we reacted badly this story is just for you. Ian and Joan, Steve, Dave, pa and others, a pearl of great price makes it all so worthwhile.
Lord, send more workers!
Some months ago, Sally and another lady met with Pearl on the streets of our village here in Sydney. Pearl was reading a book on Buddhism and didn’t seem particularly interested in a conversation about Jesus, yet they persevered. One thing led to another, and soon a Bible came out, and Scriptures were read. There was a reaction. Could there be more? Buddha was put to one side, and soon, a discovery Bible study was setup in Pearl’s little flat and she began to ask questions. Who is this Jesus who died for me?
The prompting of the Spirit meant that they were asked back and soon Wednesday’s became a regular event. Pearl, her of such great price in the Kingdom, was being drawn into the great heavenly family of God. More questions, and then the realisation that faith in Christ would mean salvation and the forgiveness of sins. Repentance occurred, even with incomplete understanding. A faith was born.
Soon, a baptism occurred, confirmation of a decision to follow Jesus. There are still questions, lots of them, but she is making steps. As a new believer in Christ, Pearl already recognises, along with so much more, that her faith must be shared. Christ is not to be contained within four walls. We can see a Discovery Group forming, perhaps with Pearl’s own oikos. We shall see what the Lord brings. We pray, we fast, we plead, intercede.
It has been an exciting weekend all round. For those who persevered with us, just think of the fruit. For those who deliberate and wrestle, is this the right way to go – keep wrestling. For those involved in the work, the workers will always be tiny, it’s just the way it is. God is with us all of the way, he wants us all to be involved. For those on the periphery, praying, supporting or just sending us their thanks, be assured, this is what God wants, because it is what Jesus came for.
Meantime, praise God for Pearl. We hope there will be more to uncover as a result.