Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Running with Purpose

"So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step." I Corinthians 9:26a

Farideh was practicing reading The Gingerbread Man to me.  "Run, run, run as fast as you can. You can't catch me - I'm the gingerbread man!"  In the end he was caught and gobbled up. Eventually being on the run makes us lose our focus and get sidetracked. We think we are invincible and in control.

There is the occasional day I find myself running too fast. Too many things to get done, you know. Some days running too fast is inevitable but overall  I try to guard myself from having a lifestyle of running that resembles chasing the wind so as not to lose sight of the goal God has called me to.  It usually proves unproductive trying to share the Good News with my Muslim friends when I'm on the run or doing too much multi-tasking. Being single minded is not a weakness but an asset in ministry.

One of the decisions I had to make early in ministry(and still to this day) was about what all I should get involved in. I have needed to run my race with clear purpose every step of the way.  In the early days there were family responsibilities which had to be first priority. We were attending a small fledgling church at that time. It was clear to me that if I would get involved at church  I would not be able to give myself unreservedly to the ministry of evangelism and discipleship of Muslim women which demands a lot of time and focus. My decision was not appreciated by all, nor understood. It felt lonely. As I look back I realize that if I had gotten involved in both church ministry and outreach among Muslims I would probably not be involved with Muslims anymore today. I would have eventually been pulled into meeting internal church needs. I would have stopped running straight and crisscrossed to another path. A budding evangelist can quickly - oh, so quickly -  get pulled away from evangelism.

Perhaps you have just returned from a conference which stimulated a desire to get involved with Muslim women and you wonder how you can fit engagement into your busy schedule because you are also a mom and involved in church related ministries or other kinds of good activities. Seek God's will in how you should proceed. Understand that making and maintaining relationships with Muslim women will take considerable time and demands commitment. They aren't a "project to do". Don't let that scare you off - just be aware and know what God is calling you to. It will also be a rich blessed experience!  I have heard the cries of various Muslim women who thought they had a Christian friend only to discover the Christian woman stopped seeing her after awhile. The Christian friend got caught up with something else beckoning her attention. Of course, sometimes it is the other way around.  If we have truly been called by God to engage with Muslim women we will need to run with clear purpose and focus every step of the way. I have a goal. I know I have been called by God.

Dear heavenly Father, help me to run straight to the goal You have called me to.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.