Where are the Nine?

Many years ago, I made an ill-fated attempt at selling insurance.  Looks easy.  Right?  Sorta made sense to me as I have spent my life talking to folks, cold-calling and the like.  Well, I had a dickens of a time at it.  I closed a few sales but not worth mentioning.  I’ve puzzled over my difficulties from time to time and concocted various scenarios explaining my less-than-stellar performance.  Truthfully, I just whiffed, and it’s futile to ask why.

In those days, I ran into a fellow who did quite well in the indemnity field, and explained to him a little of my plight.  He asked me how many sales pitches I had made.  When I told him, he gently replied that as many people came to him in a shorter period of time.  He wasn’t trying to hurt my feelings, but that’s the thing about hurting people’s feelings- you don’t have to try.  This seasoned businessman was happening on as many opportunities as I was actively cultivating. 

Though I didn’t consider it at the time, the same reality is at work in any endeavor.  Those who are experienced in any effort find opportunities on every hand.  Others don’t.  From my perspective as a pastor, I see doors to sharing the gospel all around.  But I’ve been seeking and opening doors as a minister for many years.  Lots of believers have difficulty getting a foot in to witness.  Many claim to know no unbelievers. 

Kingdom work does not require specialized training, but it does require industry.  Jesus said all we have to do to find opportunities to minister is look around.  Service will find us as we are employed in the routines of life if we possess a modicum of sensitivity.  There are several examples of this truth from Jesus’ own life.

On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus ran into some lepers.  They called out to Him for mercy.  There were ten, in all.  The thing is Jesus was going about His business of the day.  He was not out looking for lepers.  Now, I know you can make an argument that God knows all things, and this was in His plan.  I know that, as well, and agree, but go with me.  Each of us will encounter opportunities to work for the Lord if we will only pay attention while pursuing our daily responsibilities.  We should not think ministry hard to find or, necessarily, difficult to satisfy.  Deficits created by the effects of sin will find you.

Jesus told the lepers to go to the priests.  On their way, they were cleansed.  The Lord told them to do something- not sit and wait for His blessing or pray (as good as that is).  So, it is that God, often, deals with us.  He heals us in the midst of life and activity and not as we listlessly mourn over the hardness of the world.  Jesus was on His way, and He sent the lepers on their way.  God worked in the traveling.

Maybe, you know the story.  Only one of the lepers returned to Jesus in thanks.  The Savior asked, “Where are the nine?”  I’ve asked the same thing.

What would it be like if the nine showed up?  Churches could not hold the crowds if the nine showed up.  There would be no financial needs if the nine showed up.  The world could be reached for Christ if the nine showed up.  Yet, the laborers are few, and the harvest is great.

Naaman was incensed that Elisha would not pay him a personal visit and call on God to cure his leprosy.  He was so enraged that he walked away from a healing.  However, a servant came to him and offered an opinion.  “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 

We may be entranced by the thought of doing great things (from a human perspective) in the service of God.  Probably, the Lord has more modest efforts in mind for you.  He wants you and me to go about our businesses being observant of those around us.  Opportunities will present themselves, but it will take all our efforts to do the job correctly and well.





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