One of my favorite TV dramas of all time is The West Wing. It was on for seven seasons. While President Jed Bartlet’s politics and staff were too liberal most of the time for my taste, I was fascinated by the leadership lessons, problem solving and conflict resolution that was demonstrated on the show. President Bartlet had to process very difficult issues, make critical decisions and then be ready to move on to the next important matter. At this point, he would usually say, “What’s next?”
Jesus was also a “What’s next?” kind of leader. He begins his public ministry in Mark chapter one in a whirlwind of activity. Calling disciples, casting out demons, teaching in the synagogue and healing the sick. All of Capernaum was stirred to the point His disciples said “Everyone is looking for You!” (Mk.1:37). What more could a spiritual leader want? Sounds like a good place to get comfortable and settle down.
But Jesus’ response was “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come.” (vs. 38). Jesus was not satisfied with the success in Capernaum, as long as He new that Magdala, Chorazin, Bethsaida, Migdol and Tiberias still needed to be reached. This spirit was woven into the fabric of His disciples from the beginning. It is this compulsion, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, that propelled the gospel across the Mediterranean world and through 20 centuries to you and me. Those first century disciples were always busy equipping believers and developing existing churches, while at the same time, stretching themselves to reach into new areas that still needed the gospel.
We are here today, serving the Lord in CA/ NV, because our spiritual ancestors refused to get comfortable and stop breaking new ground. How can we be any different? We have churches in Ontario, Torrance, Bakersfield, Sacramento, San Jose, Reno, Redding and many other cities and towns. But how can we be content, when we have not yet reached Oceanside, Lancaster, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Livermore, San Francisco and have barely penetrated San Diego, Los Angeles and a host of other places.
Jesus is going to “the next towns.” We should want to go where He goes. I ask you “What’s next?”