I was reading through Luke when I saw the story about the Samaritan village who did not welcome Jesus because he was headed for Jerusalem (Luke 9). James and John, the sons of Thunder, asked Jesus if they could call down fire from heaven to burn up the nonreceptive villagers. Jesus responded to their request by rebuking them and then going to another village.
I began thinking about this story as I tried to pry a child proof electrical protector from an outlet. I had a lamp plugged into the open receptacle and the child proof protector functioned very well as I couldn’t get it out. I finally just unplugged the lamp (which is where the picture above comes from) and was able to get electricity out of the plugin.
After spending a couple of minutes of frustration, I chose to use what was easiest and most accessible. Looking at the story from Luke, I realized that Jesus wasn’t going to force his way onto a group of people who weren’t interested in having him there. Instead, he chose to go on to the next village. Maybe at some point in time, the villagers who refused Jesus would be receptive, but until that time, he went where he could be heard.
When it comes to starting new churches, we ask our planters to pray and look for “people of peace”. These people will be open and receptive to hearing about Jesus and will welcome the planter’s desire to start a church that will bring Jesus to people. These people often open the relational door for the planter to talk to others about what he is doing in that community. One of the best practices we embrace: go to receptive people first.
Going back to the picture above, which receptacle is open to being used? I want to reach as many people for Jesus as possible. I also know that the ones I need to give my best attention to are those who are receptive / open to hearing about him. My goal: Keep my eyes open for those who are open.