My "I must"
At daybreak [Jesus] departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea. Luke 4.42-44
I read this text today and I just had to stop everything. It literally took my breath away. We see a man, Jesus, who knows what needs to be done and does it. That simple. No doubt the time he spent in the deserted place, communing with His Father, gave him this clarity and determination of resolve. He would need both of those things because very soon the crowds would descend on him, demanding, wanting things, suggesting another program for him that would, they believed, benefit them greatly - Stay with us. Heal us. Do miracles for us. - but Jesus would not be swayed. In unequivocal terms he simply says “I must”. No matter their arguments, no matter their disagreement, no matter the intended flattery, he knew his “must”. His “must” was the purpose for which he was sent. Jesus had already done his work in these parts but his eyes were set on the bigger picture – the other cities where the kingdom of God had yet to be preached. Others “there” had still not heard the good news. He would not, could not, wait until more heard “here”, or more followed him “here” before setting his sights on “there”. So he left. Just like that. Turned his back on the pleas and went to those other towns.
Our vision, whether big or small, impacts our day to day choices. Sometimes our visions are so small, that we really don't need God to accomplish them – we can do them all by ourselves and in our own strength and wisdom. We can afford to waste time and passion on things that ultimately bear little fruit and have little kingdom impact. But when the vision is big, that is really not an option.
God has given us a big vision. An impossible vision. Seeing Congolese churches discover their mission potential is a great thing. But what about the other towns? Other peoples? Others who know nothing of my God of grace? Others within Francophone Africa need to hear and need to discover their mission imperative too. I “must” motivates me, stirs me, pushes me too. I keep before my eyes the image of God on his throne surrounded and praised by peoples of every tongue and nation under the sun and that image compels me towards other towns.
I thank you, Lord, that you have a vision that goes far beyond me. Or beyond one people. You know what it will take and how and when it will happen. It is for that purpose that I was sent. Fulfil your purposes in and through me, always for your greater glory.