Saturday, September 11, 2010
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace if there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house (Luke 10:5).
One of my guiding principles on short term outreaches is the Person of Peace principle, taken from the above verse. God impressed a new, similar verse on me while in Italy: “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at this house until you leave.” (Matt. 10:11)
The principle intrigues me. Who is a person of peace? What is a person of peace? As I’ve learned over the years, it is a person of influence, someone who is key to the outreach, and key to reaching the community; this person receives you and what you have to say. Sometimes it’s a believer, sometimes not. But there is a powerful connection, a divine appointment, and the community is affected when it happens.
You may wonder how it happens, how you find that one person. I always go to a new city more than a little daunted, wondering how in the world we will find that one person of peace. If it was up to my resources, this could take months! But of course it’s not…
In Albania, I discovered the power of God to pinpoint one person in a city, no matter what size the city or how short the time frame. In Italy, even when we couldn’t get out into the city much because of the broken down van, God brought the person to us! (For the story of how God brought Antonella to us, read blog posts How Do You Spell Outreach?, E-1, and E-0 (sorry I can't quit)e figure out how to get the links in!; you will notice how unobtrusive the whole thing was, how easily it could have been missed.)
Antonella, our person of peace, became the inspiration for not only our exhibits, but for spunk in the face of adversity. When I think of the impossibility of finding any ‘worthy person’—a person of peace—in a city the size of L’Aquila, when its own citizens couldn’t find one another, when we were stranded for five days without a vehicle, I still shake my head.
And now that I am home, God reminds me of something else He taught me in Albania as well, in Jeremiah 5:1: “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city.”
God is always seeming to look for just one person…