This is a DI Classic post from 2007 when we were spearheading the Revolution youth movement in Mound. This relative short-lived effort ultimately gave me the vision and burden that would several years come to fruition in the planting of MainStreet. But these were lonely, uncertain times of discerning the will of God. -JB
“Now when I arrived in Troas to proclaim the gospel of Christ,the Lord had opened a door of opportunity for me. But still I had no relief in my spirit, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-bye to them and set out for Macedonia.”
(2Co 2:12-13 NET)
As many of you know, Keri and I are engaged in launching a new ministry in Mound. I am convinced that God clearly called me to settle down in this particular community and use my influence and gifts to reach the youth culture with the Gospel. This is a sacrifice and great test of faith for both of us. There have been many highs and lows, some great steps forward and several discouraging set backs along the way. Quite recently I received a verse at just the right time. It is one of those incidental facts mentioned in a letter of Paul to his Christian community back in Corinth that we usually skim right over as we look for the real “meaty” teaching of the letter. However, I discovered something quite interesting.
Pastors, missionaries, and apostles often live by faith and pray urgently for “OPEN DOORS” of opportunity for advancing the Gospel. This is biblical language. I, too, believe God opened a door at Bethel Methodist Church in Mound just a week or so after I received a very real, convincing “calling” from God to reach the youth of Mound. The doors that open are not always what we expected, but they are nevertheless thought to be “a God thing” and we walk through them with great anticipation. Usually, when God opens a door we think we must BE EXACTLY WHERE WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE. This must be God’s place for us, and we find ourselves experiencing “a certain peace.” Have you heard this?
Well, this assumption is what makes the above passage so peculiar. Here is Paul describing how God opened a great door of opportunity to share the Gospel in Troas, and yet he found no peace in his spirit! Furthermore, HE LEAVES immediately and goes to Macedonia! Was Paul leaving God’s calling? Did he wimp out? Why did he not stay? Well, the passage indicates that He was looking for his fellow missionary brother, Titus. He was restless without his partner in ministry.
This makes me wonder a bit. Personally, I can think of nothing more important that being obedient to God’s calling in life, and when one receives a particular assignment and God opens a door for them they should walk through it. However, having experienced the wear and tear ministry takes on one’s life as one attempts to follow the vision, I am also realizing that a faithful and effective minister will be surrounded by a solid support network. Paul knew that he would be ineffective without Titus with him. God’s open door was not enough. He needed a healthy community of fellow believers to walk through the doors alongside him.
So, I have discovered that even the great Apostle Paul was no lone ranger Christian. We need each other! Who is your Titus? Will you pack up and leave God’s open door of opportunity for the sake of maintaining your most precious relationships (especially marriages). These are questions I’m asking myself these days.
It was no accident that Jesus sent the disciples out two by two. I am fortunate to have a few Tituses. I am so grateful.