Many years ago, I had a dream one night that changed my life in a dramatic way.
In the dream I was on the banks of a river that was flowing fast and deep. I stepped into the river and walked upstream wanting to find its source. After a time, I reached a fork in the river. On the left side of this fork, it was clear that this was the side with the main source of the water. The right side, in contrast, had barely enough water flowing in it to cover my feet. Of course I wanted the deep water, and to follow it to the source!
As I walked upstream in the river on the deep side, I saw in the distance what appeared to be a huge city on a mountain from which the river flowed. The city was all white and illuminated, and yet full of color. It was magnificant and breathtaking and I innately knew the Lord dwelled there, and THAT was where I wanted to be!
As I excitedly made my way up to that city, I hit an invisible barrier that stopped me short. Two men suddenly appeared and stood on each side of me, blocking my way. I was irritated with them, and told them I wanted to be let through so I could go on up to the mountain, to that city to be with the Lord. Why would they stop me from that?
They shook their heads no, and pointed to the other river, the shallow one that I had quickly passed by as I chose the deeper side, and they said; "No, you must learn to be a servant first".
I looked over to that sad trickle of water and saw that it lead to and through a run down and neglected town. The water slowly moved through the center of it, and in some places even appeared to dry up altogether. The people looked horrible! They were poor, shabby, beaten down and seemed to wander aimlessly throughout the broken town.
I died inside.
Go THERE? I gazed back up to the beautiful mountain and couldn't believe it! I could be on the mountain, in the presence of the Lord! I could be in the deepest of all water, filled and satisfied, but instead I had to go where there was barely any water? And to make it worse, with people who looked like they didn't care one way or another about it!
Then I saw the word "RUTH" written over the town. I was sunk, and I knew it.
The meaning of the name Ruth means friend and companion.
I understood what was wanted of me. I was to go and be a friend and companion to those destitute people, living with them in their sad little town.
I would serve them.
I would serve the One who wanted me there.
Jesus comes to us, to serve us in our own little destitute worlds, so we can know Him and the Father.
In Matthew 20:28, Jesus says of Himself; "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
He sends us to serve in His likeness.
In Philippians 2:5 - 8 it says; "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus; Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on the cross!"
It's easy to serve ourselves and seek the deeper water of fellowship with the Lord. That comes pretty natural to our self centered nature. It's even fairly easy to serve the Body of Christ and those who appreciate and understand the core of what motivates us.
It is not easy to serve those who don't know Him and walk blindly in the dark. To be light, salt and the fragrance of Christ is much more challenging and draining with those who live for the world. The warfare involved adds even more difficulties to overcome.
But it is our calling.
Jesus said in Matthew 4:12-13; "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means; I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners".
We are all called to be missionaries to the world around us. To befriend those in it, as Jesus did, and come alongside them as companions. To live the message of Christ before them and with a credibility that comes as we serve and love them, entering into their lives through relationship.
"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written; "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10: 14-15
Consider yourself sent........