“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves” ( Mathew 10:16)
When one enthusiastic missionary, John Chau, was shot dead by members of the North Sentinel tribe, a proud indigenous tribe secluded away on a remote Indian Ocean island, many questioned his evangelical method. First, any approach to these secluded people was prohibited in the region yet Chau decided to violate the law. More importantly, the nearby fishermen he bribed to lead him to the borders of this Sentinelese warned him not dare them. For centuries they had been fighting off successfully any foreign intruders.
Armed with Gospel tracts, John Chu ignored all; and just as many feared the Sentinelese once they sighted him approach their treasured homestead, sent a storm of arrows that quickly levelled him to the ground. No one could even attempt to approach his body to retrieve it for a proper burial.
In the aftermath of his death the debate in many Christian circles was if this was a smart or rather ill advised suicidal move on Chau’s part! Was it a “shrewd” move as Jesus once advised to storm the compound of a people who have clearly sent out a warning that they would clear out any uninvited person who protruted their ranks! Many concluded that Chau was naive and just courted a suicidal mission.
Sometime, and it does happen quite often, our enthusiasm can overrun our better senses. Say, if I find myself caught in between a crowd of Jihadists, and while I very much like to win all to Christ, why would I openly provoke them with labels as damned sinners. Perhaps other than fast pointing at them as hopelessly lost I might do better by calmly starting a friendship without even identifying my Christian identity. Over time the truth would become quite obvious as I let Jesus shine through my life.
Jesus was very much aware that his followers would often be caught up in enemy territory. To win them over, he advised a covert strategy, quite appealing even to this day!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I pray to be ever led by your Spirit who gives wisdom in all my outreach, this I pray in Jesus’s name.