Clearing a path takes work! It’s time-consuming, inconvenient and sometimes costly, but the Baptist women of Oklahoma aren’t easily deterred.
In just a few short weeks, thousands of women from all over Oklahoma and beyond will meet at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center for the annual Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Women’s Retreat. As registration wraps up, our office has been inundated with phone calls and emails, not only from registrants, but also from women making arrangements for others to attend who need Jesus.
Burdened for the souls of friends and family, these women are doing whatever it takes to clear obstacles that might otherwise have kept loved ones from experiencing God in a powerful way. Some are signing ladies up and/or providing scholarships. Others are arranging accommodations for the physically infirmed, and still others are flying ladies in.
Exciting and inspiring, this unexpected phenomenon reminds me of the devoted men who cleared a path for their paralyzed friend (Luke 5:17-26). Believing Jesus could heal him, these men didn’t just tell their friend Jesus was in town. They made a stretcher and took him to Jesus themselves. When they couldn’t get through the crowd, they climbed the roof. When the roof got in the way, they tore it apart and lowered their friend to Jesus’ feet, where he found healing.
Time-consuming? Yes. Inconvenient? No doubt. Costly? Probably. Worth it? Definitely!
Given a chance at do-overs, I don’t think these men would have done things differently. Few things are as satisfying as watching God work miracles through your obedience.
I remember the very first time God used me to clear a path.
In the eighth grade, I felt God calling me to leave the familiarity and comfort of Christian school and begin attending public school, so I could befriend the lost and introduce them to Jesus. I did and soon met a girl in my reading class. Her family was new to town, so I invited her to come to church with me.
My church family welcomed her with open arms. Before long, she was attending church with us every time the doors were open. Up until the day she got her driver’s license, my family picked her up, took her home, provided her with meals and paid the fees for her to attend church activities. Today, she serves as an Oklahoma state missionary and is making a great impact through Baptist Collegiate Ministries on one of our college campuses.
Every time I think of this sweet friend, my heart swells with joy, and I’m motivated to keep clearing paths. It’s been exciting to see God working through our little family as Rick and I teach our children to make connections and clear their own paths. It’s absolutely thrilling to see the joy on their faces when their ministerial efforts—at this stage, these “efforts” usually involve crayons and colored paper—are received with a smile.
What about you? What path would God have you clear so the lost can hear the Gospel and experience His love for themselves? Will you, like so many Oklahoma Baptist women, make sure a woman who needs Jesus attends our retreat? Will you send a student to Falls Creek? Will you take a child to Vacation Bible School? Provide a meal to a bereaved family? Mow a neighbor’s yard?
If you’re not sure, just ask the Father. He’ll tell you what He has in mind.
Will it take time? Yes. Will it be inconvenient? No doubt. Will it cost you? Probably. Will it be worth it? Definitely!
Whatever it is, obey Him and prepare your heart for joy!