Defining Your Ministry Area of Influence (pt. 4) - Where Hope is Found
We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another's area of influence. (2 Corinthians 10:15-16 ESV, emphasis added)
What is the hope you have for your ministry? Is that God's hope as well? How do you know? What should our hope be? Is your hope in your ability to perform? Or is your hope in your Savior's ability to take your weak and pathetic words and works and use them to produce growth and maturity? The latter sounds better, doesn't it? It should, and here's why:
3 Reasons We Need Hope
- To see increased faith and faithfulness. As discussed in the first post of this series, the mission is the same for all believers; to make disciples. In order to accomplish that mission faith has to increase; the faith of the person being discipled as well as the person doing the discipling. The only way that happens is through faithfulness. The person being discipled demonstrates faithfulness as they listen and apply what they are learning. The person doing the discipling demonstrates faithfulness as they listen to the Holy Spirit and speak truth in love. It's a back-and-forth, give-and-take sort of thing.
- To see our effectiveness increase. As faith and faithfulness are demonstrated, effectiveness increases. The person being discipled will eventually start discipling someone less mature in the faith, as he was discipled. This frees up the original person doing the disciplining to start with someone new.
- To reach beyond our current, local context. As the cycle of discipleship continues, it will eventually reach all tongues and tribes. That's what good news does; it spreads quickly, globally, one disciple at a time.
So what does this kind of hope have to do with my area of influence? EVERYTHING! Our hope is in the one, true Savior who bleed and died and rose again to save us from our sins. Our hope is to see His kingdom rooted and established here on earth. Our hope is to hear Him say upon His return, "Well done, good and faithful servant". Just like the hymn says, "My hope is found in nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness."
You have a specific part to play in that hope. God has called you and gifted you in certain ways to help accomplish His mission, to share His message. Do you know what that is? Do you know what your area of influence is? Are you being faithful to the mission God called you to?
My prayer for you (and me) is that we seek the Lord in this important matter. My prayer is that we rely on His strength to accomplish His mission which is always bigger than our plans. My prayer is that we are humble and faithful enough to do what God has called us to do.
In the final post of this series, I will share this prayer with you.