Ninety Eight Stayed Home, Two Turned Back


There’s something God is asking you to do.

But you’re hesitating.

You’re not sure.

Maybe you didn’t hear him correctly.

And certainly, He’s got the wrong person, right?

I mean, there are better Christians than you around and He hasn’t asked them to do this. You know how mixed your motives are. Maybe this isn’t from God. Maybe you’re just looking for attention for yourself.

If it was something that God wants done, certainly others would have seen it, too. Smarter people. People who have known God longer. Braver, more talented people. I mean, who are you, right?

But, there it is again. That little voice. You know that voice. It’s Him.

But this is crazy. People aren’t going to understand this. And it’s not like you to do something based on a quiet urging, a sign, a desire, a call.

Still. There it is, again.

In the days of Marco Polo, the great leader of Ancient China, Kublai Khan, opened the door of his nation to the adventurer’s God. He told Marco Polo that he would like to learn about his God and requested he bring back with him one hundred Christians to teach his people about Jesus Christ.

Two priests answered the call to go. Two.

But even these two, when they encountered hardship and difficulty crossing the great mountains separating east from west, turned back.

They turned back.

No one but God can know how the world would be different today if Polo could have found one hundred Christians willing to go or if the two he did find had not turned back.

It was a pretty crazy notion and it would take great courage and determination to carry it through but they had an open door.

There are open doors all over the place right now. I believe this. To borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis, “Aslan is on the move.” God is at work. Something is afoot.

Is it the beginning of the end? I don’t know the answer to that but I know there are open doors everywhere – opportunities, moments to seize, conversations to start, risks to be taken.

You agree with me or you wouldn’t still be reading.

Jesus spoke these words to the church of Philadelphia in the book of Revelation, “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Revelation 3:7b-8

Are you looking at an open door thinking you’re the last person you would choose to walk through it? Are you thinking you don’t even have the strength to think about having the strength? Go back and read that verse again. He’s trying to tell you that none of that matters.

Aren’t you weary of living life with your silencer on? I know I am. These days call for bold moves. I’m not a bold mover, believe me, but there is the seed of boldness gestating deep within me and it’s ready to come busting out.

I’ve read the Bible. I’ve seen Jesus in action. I’ve seen everyday men and women changed, transformed by a power that is greater than any other in this world. People were healed. Miracles happened. Hearts were changed. And this is still happening.

It is still happening, loved ones.

Don’t you want to be fully part of it?

But the people who followed Jesus then and those who follow Him now must walk away from everything they once knew and be willing to move forward no matter the risk.

People thought they were crazy. Loved ones thought they were wrong, misguided, irresponsible, off their rails. You don’t go fishing for men, right? That’s not normal.

But it is. In the kingdom that arrived when Jesus ushered it in, that is normal. And if you’re a citizen of that kingdom, risking everything is something you do before breakfast in the morning.

If not now, when? You hear Him talking to you. You know you want to respond. You know you’re tired of pushing that urge back down. You know the stakes. You hear Him getting closer every day. So why wait any longer? Why hold back another day?

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” Hebrews 10:35-39

Only two priests set out on the journey out of one hundred who were called. Those two priests turned back. They turned back.

At the end of the movie, Schindler’s List, when the war is over, Schindler is standing with all of the men and women he managed to save from destruction by the Nazi’s. But in that moment, rather than feeling pride, it’s as if Schindler suddenly realizes how real the war actually was.

 In some ways, he had only been playing a game of “how many can I save?” But now, when the war is won, the realization of all those dead, the reality of what had happened, comes racing at him. This was no game. All he can see now is how much more he could have done, how many more he could have saved. He suddenly sees the value of even One More Person.

There is a day like that waiting for all of us.


What if the risk you’re hesitating to take could save just One More Person?

After any great war, children ask those who were there “What did you do during the war?”

What will be your answer when it’s all over one day and someone asks you, “What did you do during the war? What did you risk in the days of Elijah for One More Person?”

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9 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. candidkerry says:

    Beautiful call to action! And that’s one of my favorite movie scenes of all time.

    Thank you for this challenging post.

  2. Heather says:

    Powerful ending! What did we do during the war? That is quite the question!

  3. wordsbyrobin says:

    Thank you for this post. It has adjusted my vision for this day. I will watch for the open door today in the moments given and step forward and watch God do things through me. It requires courage and boldness and He’ll have to supply that too. : )

  4. Rachel Chiasson says:

    Thank you for this, Lori! Doug and I are going through such hard times in the region we have been called and we have asked ourselves if we should turn back, but after much prayer we know that we are to stay. This is such an encouragement. Bless you, my friend.

  5. Praise God for all of you – may God show you the open door before you!

  6. Amen, and amen! I about stood up as I finished it. Who can afford to sit idly when God is moving? I don’t want to miss the opportunity to be involved in what He’s doing. To God be the glory!

  7. And I want to add that my kids and I just heard about this recently, watching Drive Thru History. What an opportunity missed. My Giant Son said, “Mom, stop the DVD. Did I hear that right? How could they turn back?”

    Just a note on God’s sovereignty, too: According to Voice of the Martyrs, there are millions and millions of Chinese Christians gathering in secret, and the Church is bringing glory to God in the midst of government persecution. It’s wonderful to know that nothing can thwart Him. Just too bad for those two Christians. How regret must’ve gripped their hearts as they stood face to face with Christ. May we not turn back.

  8. Heather says:

    Many times, I think I am not doing enough. That is my personality – I relate very much to Martin Luther! Anyways, I had to take a step back in the midst of my injury and recovery and realize that I AM working in the war – I am training soldiers.

  9. Heather, engaging in the resistance isn’t always about “going and doing.” Often, it’s about “being, remaining, and abiding.” Being a child of God, remaining faithful in the midst of suffering, abiding in Jesus, remaining married when others toss aside committment, being a Godly, loving mother, etc, these are all ways we fight the good fight. I’ve been there as a homeschool mom, believe me. Ask Him to show you the open door in your life right now. It’s probably not about “doing” more, if I know you.