But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 GNB)
They were fishermen, not tourists. Some of them had never set their feet beyond Galilee, the city of their birth. They may have boats, but they did not have ships. Their boats were for fishing and for navigating from one part of Galilee to another, across the Sea of Galilee. None of them had ever encountered great rivers and oceans of the larger world around them. So, cocooned in that little town of Galilee, their eyes were closed up, their minds were limited, and all the possibilities they saw was within the sphere of their world.
So, even when Jesus was talking to them about the Kingdom of God, the universal movement of heaven, all their concern and worry was for Israel. When will the kingdom be restored to Israel? Is it even possible that we can at least become great men, rulers of cities and tribes in Israel? Their entire plea, all their prayers, all their pursuits, and all their highest dreams were centered on Galilee, and if they got too ambitious, they would think of Israel. But, to move beyond Israel? It never crossed their minds.
They even had their Lord as an example. Throughout His days on the face of the earth, He never bothered with the Gentile lands. His scope had been Israel, and His major labours were in Galilee. So, they could have been content to be like their Lord, and also settle to an Israel-bound ministry.
But the times had changed. The vision was accomplished. A new day was upon them, and they were still thinking in terms of the old day. So, the Lord sat them down, after they had asked Him what His plans are for the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, and He said to them,
“It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8 ESV)
The Lord essentially said to them, “Shift your vision. See farther, dream bigger. A new day is upon you. In the old day, I told you to go only to the lost sheep of Israel, but this is a new day. You cannot stop in Jerusalem, you must reach Judea. Don’t stop in Judea, get to Samaria, but don’t even stop in Samaria, the goal is THE END OF THE EARTH.”
The Almighty had set His scope, he has given His vision statement, and to all who cares to know, to all who must represent Him, the scope of His vision is THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.
Sometimes I mourn, at the smallness of my heart. Sometimes I stay in the corner of my room and shudder: that I may not be here because this is where God wanted me to be, but that I may be here simply because it is the size of my heart, and the scope of my vision. So, I pray for a larger heart, and for an enlarged scope of vision.
Some time ago, I asked the Lord to give me a street- all the youths in a street where I once lived. Each day that passes in this season, I see God answering that prayers, I see doors opening to minister to them, and the only limitations has been: the size of my heart.
Some of us have become ethnic champions, pushing and fronting ethnic sentiments. Some of us have become local champions, celebrating the little victories we have got here and there. But who will see what God sees? His sight is on nations, not mere streets. His sight is on whole tribes and tongues. Will we be content with our little labours of 200 persons? Will we settle on our little Jerusalem and the victories we have got there?
Even for the disciples in Jerusalem, it took them years to move. It even took another later apostle to enter the scene and fully bring to accomplishment all that that Jesus had set before them.
So, whatever you do, wherever you are, remember God has a scope- the ends of the Earth. You can start from that little place where you are (as I have started too). You can extend your reach more and more as God opens doors for you. But never celebrate too much, or retire because of what you think you have accomplished. Never stop, until you reach the goal of God Himself- THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.