Read Mark 5:18-20
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. 19 But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” 20 So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them. (NLT)
Put yourself in the sandals of this man who was at last restored to full humanity after the evil one had dehumanised him for so long. Of course he would want to go with the one who healed him, who seemed to do what no-one else had been able to do. The one who had simply paid loving attention to him.
But Jesus didn’t grant his wish. Jesus told him he could do most good in his own location. His testimony was clear and dramatic enough. The people who knew him as he was would certainly pay attention to the man who he had become.
It is easy for some of us to think we need to go off and tell the world about Jesus when those in our immediate vicinity need to hear about him as well. It can be that some of us might find it easier to share Jesus with strangers rather than with family and friends.
Or it might even be that we find there is attraction in going to distant parts of the world to share our faith. In some Christian circles, those who venture into other cultures in other places are treated as rather special in comparison to those who just get on with the job in our own varying cultures nearer home.
We know Jesus wants us to go into all the world to tell of his good news. But our immediate social and cultural circles are part of that world. Thank God for those who do go to all corners of the globe as missionaries. But don’t forget that anyone who lives for Jesus in an increasingly hostile world is a missionary. We can witness by going to other places, we can witness by staying put in our own place.
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