Everyone has a unique sphere of influence (“oikos”). We’re NOT talking yogurt, folks.
Jesus told the man who had been set free to: “go home to your people…and tell how I had mercy on you…”
The word “home” in this verse in the original language is “oikos”. (To the Greeks this was your unique sphere of family, friends, and community. The people who you regularly rub shoulders with – those who truly know you.)
The formerly demon-possessed man had an immediate influence within his family and community. Culturally, ethnically, linguistically, geographically speaking, he was much closer to the unbelievers in his “oikos” than Jesus and His present Jewish disciples. Actually, the community forced Jesus to leave. But the man with the testimony had access!
Everyone has a unique “oikos”. Sadly, the problem may be that the people in a Christian’s oikos don’t see any real difference in their lives. They don’t perceive that we have something they actually need. WE NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH JESUS, MORE TIME SOAKING IN GOSPEL TRUTH AND GRACE…
A young pastor from Harrisonburg, Virginia, A.J. Mosley shared in our church a few weeks back about what’s happening at his job. A huge part of his “oikos” are the people he works with. He spends 8-9 hours everyday with them. But he had to learn to start letting his light “leak” . It started with taking advantage of opportunities that already existed…like silently bowing his head and praying before his meal in the break room and ACTUALLY PRAYING FOR HIS COWORKERS as he blesses his food. This simple act of faith and humility opened a door for A.J. to minister to his boss. His boss is now saved and a member of the church where A.J. is a staff pastor.
Who is in your OIKOS? Who will you begin to pray for?
This explains why newer Christians are often the best evangelists!
NOTICE how the people in that area were NOT open to JESUS staying! Such strange things had happened in just a few hours. Plus He was a rabbi from the wrong ethnic group. Jesus did not have an open door in that community. But the new believer had immediate access!
It is almost an absolute that the people who are the most naturally effective at reaching non-Christians are those who only recently have come to Christ. This is because of their relational proximity to the mission field.
The longer that someone is an “insider” in church, the more their primary circles of relationships and friendships are within the church culture. This makes for some good friends…and safe friends…but it doesn’t make for natural evangelism.
All Christians should be seeking to develop relationships with outsiders, but newer Christians already have tons of these relationships in place!
So we have yet another reason why each of us need to be on mission: we all have a unique sphere of influence.
More next time.