Jesus and Priorities
These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Matthew 10:5-6 ESV
Does not God love the whole world? Of course He does! Does not the mission of the Messiah, Jesus, include taking the Good News to both Jew and Gentile (non-Jew)? Of course it does! (see Isaiah 49:6) Then, why would Jesus restrict His apostles from going to the Gentiles and Samaritans (half-Jewish and half-Gentile)? It was a matter of priorities and strategy.
Jesus would eventually (2+ years later) after sending out the Twelve in pairs for a ministry training exercise, send them and all of His disciples on a mission to make disciples of all the peoples of the world (see Matthew 28:18-20). But at this time, His priority was training the Twelve and preparing them for the ultimate mission.
They needed an audience that would be somewhat familiar – Galileans. And yet, it would still be by faith, as He restricted their provisions on what they were to take with them. It would be by faith in that not every village they entered would welcome them. It would be by faith because He was not with them.
So, the priority for the moment was a faith training, practical ministry exercise. His priority for the moment was preparing the Twelve, knowing that within a relatively short time He would expand their mission to include all the peoples of the world.
Short-term goals can seem contradictory to long-term mission if we don’t understand strategy. Jesus knew the strategy included training these future leaders of the world-wide mission and thus He focused their ministry efforts within Galilee for the short term.
Mission requires leaders execute a strategy to accomplish their overall task. This strategy will need to be sequenced and prioritized within a timeline. Jesus demonstrated this and in His prayer before the crucifixion says, “I have completed the work you gave me to do.” (see John 17:1ff).
If Kingdom leaders have a clear mission and vision, you will need a strategy to accomplish both. Remember that your strategy must be sequenced and prioritized – you can’t do everything all at once.
“Mile by mile, it’s a trial. Inch by inch, it’s a cinch!”