When a healer encounters poor health, their thoughts turn to what is broken, depleted or needs restoring. The gospel healer asks ‘What does God want to do here?’
We are called into a lifetime ministry of reconciliation that sometimes including becoming a healer. How are you with sick people?
Apparently, there will be times when healing of some sort is to take place. When God uses you to bring restoration to another, make sure that they know that the Kingdom of God is being shown to them.
We need to acknowledge the times we see God doing something beyond our control.
For example, we have witnessed the Kingdom of God advancing against the Kingdom of darkness in our back yard. In the parking lot behind our church, we watched a party house with lots of substance abuse get busted and go quiet. The tenant helps out by volunteering at the church.
Then, the drug traffic and prostitution erupted on the other side of our parking lot. The 2nd floor unit had a steady stream of new people going in and out. The owner sold the house and Wayne and Patty bought it. They are a retired couple who wanted to live close to the church.
Then across the parking lot and back one house… a tenant with some bad associations and debts attracted drug dealers to sell on the street in front of his place. There was a police standoff a few months ago in the lower unit. He’s gone now and the owner decided to give the duplex to the church as a gift.
In my humble opinion, there is a visible response to the presence of God’s Kingdom at work in the neighbourhood. The perimeter of our property keeps pushing back darkness. We are constantly meeting people who are open to God’s help.
But what about communities where the Kingdom of God is not received and God’s servants are constantly harassed and helpless? Jesus says to send a message to that kind of place.
The rejection stands in testimony against those who reject. The symbolic act of departing the city, including leaving its dust behind, shows that the city stands alone before God. It must answer for its actions. To reject God and then have to face him is a fearful thing. The cities that reject the message are warned that the kingdom came near, but opportunity was missed. Only accountability remains. The invocation of a more tolerable judgment for Sodom indicates just how serious that rejection is, since Sodom is one of the ancient Scripture's most wicked cities. It was turned to dust by God's judgment against sin.[i]
We are all created from dust and will return to dust. The community’s dust reveals the elements that form it. To shake the dust off is to reject the elements that make up the essence of that particular community. Some elements will not be resurrected in God’s Kingdom.
Too many germaphobes complain about the dirt of the world without ever actually getting dirty themselves. Let us make sure though that we are not shaking dust off when we have not set foot in the heart of a community we want to reach.
You cannot enter a dusty town without getting dust on you. The question is where are you going with God? Where is God sending you and rest assured that a little dirt will not kill you. Cleanliness is not next to godliness. Compassion is next to godliness.
William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army said,
While women weep, as they do now, I'll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now I'll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I'll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I'll fight-I'll fight to the very end![ii]
God’s Spirit will fill us with a fiery passion to see God’s Kingdom go everywhere bringing relief, healing and peace.
[i] The IVP New Testament Commentary Series
[ii] William Booth, http://www.tentmaker.org/Quotes/evangelismquotes.htm