Many well-meaning believers take worldly gauges and put them on Christian causes. The CEO, top-down, business-model churches are among the faults of this. I’m not saying that churches who may have introduced worldly business models to big-business-looking churches aren’t successful. Many do great things for the Kingdom, as God doesn’t have to use pure things for His Gospel Kingdom work, but He can use any vessel to accomplish His work, and by His grace He cleans up what He’s using often in the process.
If you’re considering the call to Vermont, are you using worldly success as a consideration? How much is worth the cost? What if not many are saved? What if you’re not qualified? What if a church plant doesn’t make it off the ground? More then all these, what if God’s calling you? The answer to this last question should far outweigh the ramifications of any other question.
I am astonished by Jesus’s well known-parable on the lost sheep. In context, it seems that Jesus is deliberating with the religious types the reality that God’s not out for clean people, but dirty ones. He’s not out for the ones with the right lineages, He’s out for the outcast, and the humble who realize their just desserts before God. What’s beautiful though, is that Jesus is often out for those who don’t have a clue they’re lost.
“What man of you,” Jesus asks you today, “having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country…” Consider that firstly though. Some of you are in great churches and without its support, might be in danger of spiritual wavering. We must not overlook this, and if your spiritual maturity will be sorely lacking should you leave your flock, obey what the Shepherd says to you.
At the same time, perhaps your passion is enthused by the words, “If he has lost one of them.” I am struck at the apparent lack of consideration over quantity. The 99 are left in the open country! BUT ONE IS MISSING! Is Jesus’ heart! Do you hear that today?
Vermont is certainly not in a category among the lost tribal groups who have never been touched with the Gospel, period, but it’s a lost sheep! It’s destiny is in danger! Its people need the hope, life, love, and joy of the Gospel! Its culture needs redemption! And Jesus’ heart is to leave the 99, “and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it,” (Luke 15:4, ESV).
If you were to come in search of the lost sheep, what would you base your coming on? The potential of number of souls to be saved? We are all children of God, and if you have children, suppose 5, are you more okay with losing 1 then say if you only had one child? Every child matters. What is success in Vermont for Jesus?
“And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:5-7).
If God told you to come to Vermont for just one soul, would you?
Kevin Davis is pastor of a small rural church in another Gospel-parched part of the continent, the Pacific Northwest. He is humbly blessed by his wife Christy, his son Calvin, and their two dogs Rocket and Tess, and his gracious congregation.