February 2019 Newsletter - "The Harvesters - The Many Hats of an Evangelist" by Chris Shaw
Hey everyone! This season has been a time of growing in understanding the Lord’s heart and compassion for the lost and broken. He has been revealing a lot when it comes to speaking to people at different stages in their walk and the wisdom required to be able to meet each soul at whatever stage they are at. A parent can discern the dietary requirements of their children according to their maturity levels, and we too as harvesters need to have that spiritual discernment to manifest Christ at each stage of someone’s individual journey, whether atheist or believer. We see the many hats in which our Lord and Saviour wore: one minute He was telling the Pharisees they were whitewashed tombs, the next He was having showing mercy on the woman caught in adultery. We too can be looking to cast stones at people who are ignorant and broken if we can’t discern their maturity level, yet we can also be missing an opportunity to reveal the truth in a way that might not be “loving” to the Pharisees of today!
Paul says it like this: 1 Corinthians 9:22 “to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
I think about what our Lord did, humbling himself to come into this sinful flesh to walk amongst sinful human beings in a world corrupted by religion, yet still showing the love and compassion to the lost and broken, revealing a pattern for us to follow in order that we seek His heart for the multitude as well as having mercy on the widows and orphans of today.
Mark 6:34 “And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.”
James 1:27 “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
In the last two months of being back in Australia, it seems as though I have been meeting with different people every other day sharing the Word. These include old friends from school who have next to no understanding of God, old friends and pastors from various churches, family members, and people in everyday life. One thing God has been teaching me is that no experience or encounter with a soul is a waste of time, because with each encounter, God wants to teach us something about that person and how to effectively minister to them in order to release a key that can unlock a part of their mind that has not yet been opened.
This all derives from relationship with the Lord, and I love how Ray put it in a previous newsletter, “Relationship transforms us into being, the doing is him supernaturally flowing through us.” The Lord wants to flow through each and every one of us in ways we can’t yet comprehend, but a part of allowing that to happen is cultivating that relationship in our personal time hearing, knowing, and believing his voice, so that when we go out to the broken, we know our Dad’s voice and we speak our Dad’s Words for that soul with no doubt or double-mindedness within us!
I must admit, sharing this word with past church friends and pastors hasn’t been something that they received with joy, as it challenges one’s belief to change and be transformed, especially when it goes against their religious ideologies. Learning to deal with different mindsets is something the Lord is teaching me to walk in, knowing that His Word doesn’t return void, and that as spiritual farmers, our job is to plant the seed, not get frustrated that the seed isn’t producing in the timing we would hope.
Having met with many people, the Lord has kept reminding me that He uses others around us to refine us, and that’s a spiritual concept we should all keep in mind when sharing. In Hebrew thought, good and evil means function or dysfunction, so something we might perceive as evil (someone coming against us) can be good in God’s eyes if its function is to refine and perfect our character to be more like His! Once God beings to reveal his heart in every situation, we see the light and wisdom in every situation, even if through a carnal mindset it might appear outwardly negative!
We see this spiritual concept when the Jews rose up against Paul and Barnabas, yet it says they shook the dust off and went to Iconium. It’s interesting when you look at what Iconium represents!
Acts 13:41 “But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium.”
Iconium G2430 from G1504; image like; Iconium, a place in Asia Minor: - Iconium.
That word iconium derives from the word eikōn, which means image and likeness.
This means that the persecution from the Jews was actually bringing Paul and Barnabas further into God’s image and likeness. When people come against us, it then gives us an opportunity to walk out our Lord’s commandment to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, so we can begin to become more like our Heavenly Father. If people aren’t coming against us, how can we begin to walk this out and pray for them?
Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
Here is an excerpt from Origen’s Homilies on Numbers about people who rise up against the true faith.
“In fact, ultimately, if you take away the devil himself and the contrary powers who fight against us, the virtues of the soul cannot shine without the struggle. So then, the glory of faithful priests cannot shine, unless it is commended by the rejection and punishment of the unfaithful.”
Having this understanding through God’s eyes that every situation is good if it’s serving a function for our perfection has allowed me to step into greater confidence to share His Word. I pray this revelation would allow others to start sharing these words of life with those around us, knowing that we are spiritual farmers and that God will bring the increase as we stay faithful to His calling on our lives!
Shalom, Chris Shaw