God’s people are not like “our” people. They are not the ones you would pick first in flag football or at the high school dance for king and queen. They are not the ones man looks at. God’s people are the people we least expect. The have-nots of society, the ones others discount and discredit. The people who know they are poor in spirit and have no shot outside of His grace.
That was the reality in Corinth during Paul’s second missionary journey. One night God comes to Paul in a vision to tell him something powerful right as he begins ministry in this extremely pagan idolatrous city.
Acts 18:9–10 (ESV) And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”
Paul is emboldened by these words and stays 18 months establishing a church in Corinth who would later become the recipients of 2 Canonized letters. Now this church needed a lot of help. They didn’t get one letter from Paul in the New Testament, they got two. I believe this vision must have kept coming back to Paul’s mind as he wrote to a church which seemed to frustrate him in many ways (see 1 & 2 Corinthians).
But for certain: God had people in Corinth and Paul needed to hear that.
I wonder how many of us who serve Waters Church need to hear this kind of encouragement from the Lord about our community? God has people right here waiting to be reached, discipled, and sent. What’s the point of all we do on the weekend and in small groups if we don’t truly believe this to be the case? NO! We need to expect God the Holy Spirit to move in our city and community through us to reach people far from God!
This is exactly why we put the time and effort into creating an environment for people to encounter Christ. Whether you are a greeter, cafe cook, children’s worker, musician, usher or small group leader – you matter to this mission and you are making an impact on God’s people. Yes, this is New England and yes, this may be a very un-Christian region but God the Holy Spirit is the same Holy Spirit that turned Jerusalem upside down in one generation (Acts 17:6). He can and will do it here too!
God has our Church here for a reason and He will bless our work if we live with expectancy. Jesus said the “fields are white unto harvest” (John 4:35)… there are people in every context the Holy Spirit is drawing to the Lord. God is simply looking for men, women and young people who will serve this context with expectancy that He is with them and NO devil can stop them!
When it looks like society is becoming so secular and the mission to reach people is overwhelming, remember God’s Word to Paul, He has many people in OUR city. When it looks like no one is listening or the obstacles are too overwhelming, please remember, God has many people in OUR city. When the enemy wants you to quit and you feel like you’re not making much of a difference, remember God has MANY people in OUR city.
Don’t be afraid.