A Louisiana Cajun put his mule up for sale. A prospective buyer asked, “Are there any problems with this mule?” The Cajun answered, “He don’t look so good.” The man answered, “Well, I don’t really care about that. Does he work hard?” “Oh yeah, he work real hard…but he don’t look so good.” The man bought the mule, and the Cajun loaded him onto the new owner’s trailer. When he arrived at his farm, he put down the ramp and brought the mule off the trailer. The mule immediately ran into a tree, then into the side of the barn. The farmer angrily cried, “I’ve been cheated! This mule is blind!” He reloaded the mule, went back to the original owner, and loudly exclaimed, “You misrepresented this mule to me. This mule is blind and you lied to me!” “Oh no…I didn’t lie to you. I tol’ you that he didn’t look so good, but you said it didn’t matter!” Friends, everything depends on how good we look, how well we see… 2. 85 million dollar ideas…
That building over there houses a wealthy corporation. Sometime ago, the vice-president went to the president and asked, “What has the first vice-president got on you that requires you to retain him? Why do you pay him such a fabulous salary when he is so non-productive?” When the president asked him what he meant, he led him into the first VP’s office and pointed through the small window which looked into his workroom. The VP was leaning back in a swivel chair, hands behind his head, and feet up on the desk. He was unmoving, either asleep or staring out the window. “See what I mean? That’s all he ever does and yet he draws such a huge salary? Why?”
The president replied, “Listen closely. Last year, that man had one idea that netted this corporation over $85 million…this year, he only has one job!” Where is the man in today’s church who is thinking the next big idea of how to reach and disciple this world?
3. Do you need God’s power…
Some years ago, a Baptist pastor was in his study one morning in his early ministry. He was prostrate on the floor, praying earnestly. Over and over, he passionately pleaded with God, “Lord give me your power. Do not let me preach without your power…” Every serious preacher has prayed this prayer with earnest appeal. However, he declared that suddenly it seemed that the roof over him opened and a hand came down and touched his shoulder and it seemed that God said to him, “My son, stop praying!” When he became quiet, the Voice seemed to say, “My son, with plans no bigger than yours, you don’t need my power!” Friends, where are the plans, the dreams, the visions, the strategies for total world impact that truly tax the miracle resources of God? Where is the strategy operation that requires ongoing miracles for its sustenance? Where is the vision that is so big that human resources cannot possibly sponsor? 4. Paradigm
In 1877, an American astronomer named Percival Lowell impacted the scientific community with the theory that, on the basis of evidence he had accumulated, there was intelligent life on the planet Mars. The theory was partially based on the observations of “canals” on the surface of the planet. The theory took the scientific world by storm.
However, there were a few people who knew early on that there were no canals on Mars. Mr. Lowell developed a serious health problem, and began to show symptoms of it. A team of physicians examined him and discovered the problem. The particular disease was so unknown at that time they named it, “Lowell’s syndrome.” One particular symptom: when he sat for a particular time examining an object, the size and shape of the blood vessels in his eyes would be projected onto the surface of the object. So, instead of seeing canals on Mars through the telescope, he was actually seeing his own blood vessels! He “carried” what he thought he was observing outside himself in his own head. This is a classic example of a paradigm.
6. Paradigm: God’s perspective
A lady approached the late Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, a great Bible teacher of the past, and said to him, “Dr. Morgan, do you really believe that God is interested in the little things in our lives?” To which he gently replied, “Madam, you surely don’t believe that anything in your life is big to God, do you?” What a paradigm! 7. Paradigm: Tiger Hunter
Years ago, a wealthy business man went to India on a Bengal tiger hunt. He was in India for six weeks. Upon his return, he went to the mid-week service of the church he attended. The church was discussing its annual budget. The businessman shocked the church by proposing that all foreign missions be dropped from the budget. An elderly gentleman asked the reason for this odd proposal. The reply came, “I have just returned from a six-week trip to India and in that time, I did not see one missionary.” The older gentleman asked, “And what was the purpose of your trip?” “I went on a Bengal tiger hunting trip.” “And how many tigers did you see?” The businessman replied he had seen six of them. The older man continued, “How peculiar! I spent thirty years in India as a missionary and I saw hundreds and hundreds of missionaries. But I have yet to see my first tiger in India!” So very much depends on our perspective, our purpose, and our vision. 8. The Arabian Steeds
The ancient Arabs created a special breed of horses, sometimes called “Arabian Steeds.” At first, they were bred for exclusive use in the King’s stables. As part of the equestrian training, a trainer carried a whistle on a rawhide rope around his neck. For months, the horse was trained to stop all activity at the sound of the trainer’s whistle and make a “bee line” for him. Rigid obedience was required. The tiniest refusal was total disobedience. Then for five days food was withheld from the horse, and for three days, water was not given. It was kept in a corral these final days of training.
On the last day, a trough of food and water was visibly placed about 100 yards from the corral. The horse would stampede in hunger and thirst on the trough side of the corral. Then, the corral door would suddenly spring open and the surprised horse would gallop at full speed toward the trough. But when he got about 25 yards from the food, the trainer would blow the whistle! Everything about the horse would tighten in confusion. A choice had to be quickly made – trough or trainer? If the horse continued to the trough, he would either be recycled through the process again or dismissed altogether. If the horse “voted” with the trainer and against its own instincts and desires to gratify its hunger and thirst, he would find the trainer there to congratulate him and lead him to the trough for food and water. Everyday, a similar choice confronts us. Will we choose the “trough of self-gratification” or listen to the “Trainer’s command” to make disciples?
A farmer took his dog hunting in the woods several miles from home, only to discover that he had forgotten his lunch pail. He put his gun down and told the dog to stay by the gun until he returned. While the farmer was gone, a forest fire swept through the woods and the dog was killed. Later, the farmer found the dog’s charred body beside the remains of the gun. He sadly said, “I always had to be careful what I told that dog to do, because he would always do it!” Christ wants us to be so concerned with what He has told us to do that we forget about the forest fire. 10. Give it all…
Years ago, a great missionary spokesman named Robert Wilder visited a tiny Hope College in Michigan to bring a chapel message on world missions. He placed a large map of India in the front of a chapel and installed a metronome before the map. In the message, he declared that every time the metronome clicked, a soul died in India without ever having heard of Christ. That day, Christ and His world vision captured the heart of a young college senior named Samuel Zwemer. As the vision flamed in his heart, he asked God to place him in the hardest spot on earth.
In the course of time, he established residence on the Island of Bahrein in the Persian Gulf, at the very heart of the Islamic world community. This island was often identified in newscasts and newspaper reports of the recent “Gulf War.” Zwemer began to print and circulate Gospel tracts, though he hardly had the approval of the Islamic government of the island. In one week, Zwemer’s two small daughters, ages four and seven, both died from illness and the oppressive heat. Samuel Zwemer asked the Bahrein officials for permission to bury the bodies of his two precious daughters on the island, but permission was refused on the ground that they were Christians and their bodies would contaminate the soil. Zwemer appealed and permission was granted-if he would dig the graves himself. He did so, and after the burial, he erected a marker which said “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive riches.” This is the heroic, give-all-unto-death lifestyle Jesus called for. 11. Give it all…
One early missionary society sent 70 missionaries to the nation of Cameroon, the vital “hinge” between west Africa and south-south central Africa. [Incidentally, the Muslims are engaged in a concerted effort today to “capture” Cameroon.] Of the 70, 68 of them died on the field. The average life span of these 70 after arrival on the field was 2.5 years! Many of them actually shipped their coffins with them to the field, knowing that it was unlikely they would return! This is the heroic, give-all-unto-death lifestyle Jesus called for. 12. Give it all…
A family of missionaries went to China with a “faith missions organization” to proclaim the Gospel there. They went as public school teachers. When they returned, they came back as typical furloughing missionaries-with a box of slides and visual presentation of their work. “Have slides, will show” seems to be the universal motto of furloughing missionaries. When their presentation and explanation was concluded, a question-and-answer period was allowed. One church member stood and said, “Weren’t you afraid you would die over there?” The calculated answer of the husband was, “No, because we DIED BEFORE WE WENT.” This echoes the word “martus,” or “martyr-witness.”
13. Saving Eyes and Souls…
Bob Reccord, president & CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board, relates a story of an ophthalmologist Howard Hendricks thought was the greatest witness for Jesus Christ in Dallas, Texas.
It seems the good doctor came under conviction when some students asked if he had ever led anyone to the Lord. Even though he had been active in his evangelical church for 12 years, he had not led anyone to the throne of grace personally. At the students encouragement he joined a training program and learned to share his faith; he became a fervent witness for the Gospel.
Years later, when Hendricks visited a remote part of India, he used the story of this ophthalmologist-turned-evangelist to illustrate a point. He did not however use the doctor’s name.
Later, an Indian doctor approached Hendricks and said, “You were talking about _______” (giving the name). “How did you know?” Hendricks asked. “I went to medical school in Dallas; I went to see him about my eyes. He led me to Christ and discipled me,” the native doctor replied.
Today this Indian doctor is the only licensed neurosurgeon in his part of India. He has tremendous influence for Jesus as a result of an American eye doctor who overcame his indifference concerning witnessing.
When you truly comprehend the love of the One who gave His life while you were yet a sinner, you are compelled to tell someone about Him. Lovers introduce their loved ones to others.