"After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go." Luke 10:1 (NIV)
In this verse Jesus hints to why he had appointed and sent out the seventy-two. His purpose was for them to prepare for his arrival to those particular towns and villages he was about to go. They were to go ahead of Jesus and get things ready for his arrival in order so that when Jesus did arrive he would be wholeheartedly received by the people. You see Jesus had a plan. He knew exactly where he was going. He wasn't flying this mission by the seat of his paints or trying to figure it out as went along. He knew exactly what he was doing and how he would get it done.
Even in the book of Acts we see the Apostle Paul had a plan for where he was wanting to go on his missionary journey. In Acts 16:6-10 we see two very important principles that Paul used in determining where he was to go on this Divine mission,
But then we see a second important principle that Paul used in fulfilling the mission. That principle was that all his plans and strategies were subject to change based upon the leading of the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit that prevented him from going into Asia and into Mysia! Why? Because God had a different plan for Paul to obey. He wanted him to go into Macedonia to preach to those people there. And Paul was obedient. As a result a church in Thessalonica was established, a jailer along with his entire household were saved and a woman, Lydia, opened her home for the church to meet. Paul followed the leading of the Holy Spirit because he had a clear understanding that he was not a slave to his plans but he was a servant of God.
From this I see three important things that those of us who are serious about being on mission with Christ need to implement:
- We must have a plan on how we intend to penetrate and reach our mission field. We need to know where the people are at. We need to have a plan on what neighborhood we are going to reach into first and then second and then third.
- Having a plan is not enough. We also need to have a resolve to implement and execute that plan. There has to be action applied to our plans.
- We must remember that all our plans are up for change based upon the leadership of the Holy Spirit. We must remember that we don't serve our plans. Our plans are just a tool for us to serve God. If the Holy Spirit comes and closes the doors for us to implement a part of our strategy we then need to be ready to listen and follow the Holy Spirits leading. The only reason why God would close the door to implementing our plan is because he wants to redirect our attention and move in a different way.
Do you have a plan to penetrate your mission field? Do you know who you are going to go after first, second and then third? Are you staying in close communion with God so that if the Holy Spirit wanted to redirect your plans you would be able to follow?