Context is important. I've been thinking a lot about context lately. During our missions trip to Burkina Faso we were able to approach students easily. They listened patiently, and were eager to learn. We systematically used the golden 4 spiritual laws booklet, and our team clearly shared they gospel with 88 people. Twenty six of them prayed to accept Christ...!
Context. Approaching a student in France is much different than in Burkina Faso. Imagine if 1 in 3 would receive Christ here. Just today I did a questionnaire with two brothers studying literature. They both said they were too rational to believe in God. One went so far as to say the idea of a higher power is revolting to him. Is God different in France? Why do we see more evidence of Him working in certain places?
We showed the Jesus film in a village outside of Ouagadougou. Villagers of all ages crowded around both sides of the screen, sitting in the red dust and peering up as Jesus spoke their native tongue of Mòaré. About fifty of them came forward and prayed aloud with the pastor at the end of the film. Receptivity, openness... context.
Canteloup is a show on one of France's main network were they report news and make fun of everyone and everything. France's president had a trip to Israel, so they decided it would be fun to show clips from the Jesus Film with a funny voiceover. For someone who has seen firsthand the power of this film to reach people for Christ it was shocking to hear jokes coming from Jesus' mouth and Peter swearing. Such a different context!
I think about Mark chapter six, when Jesus visited his home town and "could do no mighty work there... And he marveled because of their unbelief." Did Jesus suddenly lose his power? How could God come up short in his hometown? Context.
God never changes and is all powerful. He can do anything in accord with his character. It seems God is also gentle. If people are unbelieving, closed, hard, he's not going to force. God prefers fertile ground, faith filled belief, openness. This was the general context in Nazareth. But what about individuals?
In Matthew 14 we read about Jesus and Peter walking on water. One moment Peter is really walking on water! You've got to stop and marvel at that. Then he took his eyes off Jesus, became afraid and started to sink. Did God's power to hold Peter up suddenly waiver? No, it was Peter's doubt. It is mind-boggling the role we play in the work of God.
So the question I'm asking myself is this - how is the context of my life? How open am I to let God work in and around me?
What about you? How would you evaluate the context of your life?