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Open Territory


 

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” – Mark 16:15

Do you have anyone in your church who seems territorial about his or her ministry? This person may be in charge of the kitchen or the choir robes or the nursery or the Sunday school. If someone comes along with a suggestion for improvement, the person in charge blows up. It reminds me of the poster of the great big gorilla who says, “If I want any advice from you, I’ll beat it out of you.”

In light of that, consider Ezekiel 16:1-3: “The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Jerusalem…” Ezekiel had been called by God to minister among the captives in Babylon. His older contemporary, the prophet Jeremiah, was left to preach to those in Jerusalem. Was Ezekiel trying to move in on Jeremiah’s territory here? No. God was using His messengers among His scattered people, wherever they were.

In the New Testament, we find Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, winning people to Christ in a synagogue in Greece. We find Peter, the apostle to the Jews, sharing Christ with a Roman centurion named Cornelius.

In the task of proclaiming God’s message, there are no territorial lines, and all of us need all the help we can get. I was speaking in a church where the pastor is a godly man with a very successful long-term ministry. His only territory was the harvest field of God, and he was open to everything he could learn from others. Christian, let’s labor together, because we can’t do it alone!

Prayer

Lord, keep me from staking out my “turf” at church, and strengthen me in my desire to quietly serve others. Amen.

To Ponder

Our service in the church is to build up the believers, to the glory of God. Our ministry to the world is to cooperate with our fellow believers in spreading the gospel, to the glory of God.

(The Navigators)