Preparing for Battle
Note: This article originally posted April 2014 and is re-posted for our new audience–Editor.
Jim was an owner of a large construction company. His local community was going to build a new hospital, and Jim wanted the challenge of building it. He was frustrated with the old hospital building because his father was confined to a wheel chair and found it was most difficult to getting into and around the building. There just had to be a better way of doing it.
Before putting in a bid for doing the project Jim did something very unusual. Jim went and talked with his doctor about his concern about building a hospital not for the healthy people, but for the patient. He wanted to make a difference for the sick and those who were not as mobile as the healthy people. Jim was not concerned for himself but for those who would need to use the building and be as comfortable as possible in doing so.
The doctor understood what Jim’s concern and desire were all about. As a good doctor he wrote out and prescription and handed it to Jim. Jim had to admit he was little surprised at the doctor giving him a written prescription. But this what the good doctor prescribed.
- Let us put casts on both of your legs so that you can not walk for a least for couple of weeks
- You will be confined to a wheel chair for a week and your family will have to care for you during that time
- Your one arm will need to put into a sling for at least two weeks.
- You will have a week of rehab
- You will be blind for one week
The list had other things that Jim would have to go through. The doctor did allow Jim to keep a mini tape recorder so that Jim would be able to record his experiences. Jim realized the good doctor was trying to say that “Jim, if you want to build the kind of hospital your are talking about, you will need to experience first hand what is like to be on the other side of the situation.” Jim took the doctor’s advice and, sure enough, it made a big difference in kind of building that was erected.
It has been said, “Experience is a great school teacher.” Experience is not our only source of knowledge. But in this case the experience was very necessary.
The same can be said of mission work. Men and women with experience in ministry are needed. This is a war for the souls of mankind. It takes a veteran warrior for overseas ministry. The front lines are tough. As a pastor you have been in counseling situations. You are raising a family and understand family problems. You know how to do evangelism, discipleship and leadership development. You have people skills and know how to lead a group of people to maturity. You have experienced teamwork and accountability. All of these things that make you so valuable to the work of the ministry are invaluable on the mission field. It would seem that is one of the reasons God sent out the first missionaries that were skilled warriors (Acts 13:1). It would also seem that John Mark almost did not make it because he lacked that experience (it is interesting after gaining experience he became profitable to all). Many times missionaries leave the field merely because they lack the experience of the battle.
Are we going to continue the same pattern of sending out only inexperienced warriors, or will we send out the warrior that has been equipped, effective, and experienced in the holy war? Pastor… will you be the first to go?