KEY THOT: When Jesus mentioned that Elijah was sent to a Gentile widow in Sidon to feed her during the famine, and that Elisha healed Naaman a Syrian, his own hometown folks were furious and turned violent. They wanted to thrown him off the edge of a cliff. But something miraculous happened: “passing through their midst, he went away.” The hometown folks were furious because Jesus’ saying upset their pre-conceived idea of how God should work—namely bless His chosen people. But Jesus pointed to a higher principle—that God works with whomever is willing to respond in faith to Him. It doesn’t matter if they were “one of us”. The hometown folks were unprepared to change their mindset: so instead of renewing their mind to accommodate the new revelation, they decided to kill the One who suggested this new idea so they can keep their old and comfortable but outdated worldview.
And Jesus did not waste time with them: despite his close affinity with his own hometown folks, he just went through them and went away. To me, it suggests that Jesus is very purpose-driven. He was not sentimental about staying on to accommodate their outdated mindsets simply because they were “the people I grew up with”. God’s purpose must be fulfilled—and if those who are closest to us reject that, there are people who are far-off who are willing to accept it. And we should go to where willing people are and not waste our time on people who are unwilling.
I see this as a strategic lifestyle: very focused and purpose-driven, not just trying to please people but to please God. It also means a readiness to let go of people who are not ready in order to work with people who are. We have only one life: we should invest it in people who are willing to move with God, not waste our life on people who aren’t. Even in the area of mentoring and disciple-making, it is important we work with people who are willing to commit their time to meeting up. Jesus invested in 12 men and 1 failed him. But He never wavered for three years. It’s not quantity disciples we should aim for but quality disciples. I read somewhere that “quality produces quantity”. Jesus focused on 12 disciples and they multiplied into a global movement.
Disciple-making is about building up people, not running programs. Programs may be started only if they build people and stopped if they no longer do. Being strategic in our lifestyle often means saying no to people who are not ready to change their mindsets and lifestyles and to stop programs and ministries that are no longer changing lives.
Father, help us to be like Jesus, focused and purpose-driven, so that we may invest our lives in people who are willing to change. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.