The Whole Bailiwick

Genesis 28:15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

I like to hear old terms and how they have progressed into language today. Idioms we use today have lost their original meaning and yet we toss them out in conversation while not fully understanding why.

The other day I heard someone speaking about the “whole ball of wax” and it intrigued me as to why you would want a ball of wax in the first place?

It turns out, the reference originated with an Anglo-Saxon idiom that dates back well over 1000 years. Baili-wick is literally translated as a ‘Bailiffs village’. In the 19th century it was absorbed into the English language as meaning a sphere of operations or activity.

As I consider my sphere of operations or activity, I think about the grand scope of God’s plan.

If you look on a globe at where you live, you will notice a perspective that changes the scope of where you live. The spectrum of your existence is contained in a relatively very small portion of the world as a whole. Even if you were to travel a few hundred miles, it still appears very localized when considering the expanse of people scattered throughout the earth.

A different view of our planet brings with it new considerations.

Our Mission

When Jesus was issuing His great commission, He instructed His disciples on what to plan for; first off the mission was for the lost.

Mark 16:15And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Now, to expect one man, or even 12 for that matter to go into all the world and preach the gospel is an incredibly difficult proposition, today that would be tough but it was extremely difficult 2000 years ago. Billy Graham spent decades traveling the world and hosting large crusades of tens of thousands of people and still didn’t reach everyone. Jet planes, large venues and mass advertisement couldn’t get it done so how could the disciples uphold such a task?

The reality of God’s expectation is always within the context of our ability and His provision. The call of Jesus wasn’t just for the disciples, the commission was for all believers both then and today.

Today we have more ability to connect than ever before. The internet and social media has opened up doors to connect with people everywhere simultaneously and air flight has made possible that which would have been nearly impossible to traverse in Paul’s day.

Whether we are referencing the early church or the church today, God’s expectation is that we do what we can with what we have. If He chooses to expand our borders of influence, He will do that in His time and in His way.

The world is a mess. The garbage of sin and rebellion has accumulated over each generation and the effects have become devastating. We are witnessing unprecedented levels of evil being perpetuated in society, from abortion, the porn industry, rampant sexual disease, drug use, and consequent mental disorders…the effects of sin has spread into every aspect of our culture.

Matthew 22:9 “Go therefore to the crossroads and invite to the banquet as many as you can find.’”

Who are we called to?——Everyone.

The calvinistic assumption is that people are pre-selected by God. The necessity to share the gospel is viewed as an exercise in redundancy and negates the expectation Jesus has placed on us…to be light of the world. Contrary to this belief is the mandate of Christ to His people. The people we see everyday seems to me to be our primary audience.

Our Influence

  • Neighbors
  • Co-workers
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Strangers

The people in your territory are the people God has called you to. If God has increased your territory then Africa, Asia, Europe, to any other place in the world, then praise God He can use you there.

1 Thessalonians 1:8 “For not only did the message of the Lord ring out from you to Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone out to every place, so that we have no need to say anything more.”

I believe one day we will see how the Lord has positioned His church in every corner of the world to be a testimony of His glory. The ones you affect can spread further than you ever thought possible.

What does your corner of the world look like? Who might you have influence to or simply might just be watching your life? The radius of our testimony is not bound by each individual interaction.

Acts 26:19-20 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. First to those in Damascus and Jerusalem, then to everyone in the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I declared that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds worthy of their repentance.”

Paul understood the necessity to be faithful to where God had called him. The question is, how did Paul know where to go?

1 Thessalonians 1:4-6 “Brothers who are beloved by God, we know that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with great conviction—just as you know we lived among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord when you welcomed the message with the joy of the Holy Spirit, in spite of your great suffering.”

Our Help

Before Jesus arose into Heaven He promised He would send a Helper. It always fascinated me that Jesus referred to one part of the Godhead, the One who hovered over the face of the deep at Creation, the One who calls us to repentance and fills our hearts with God’s presence….the Helper.

When I think I of a helper I think of someone who is insignificant but the Holy Spirit is anything but insignificant. There is always a reason for the names that God portrays Himself by.

This is my thought and you can correct me if you think I’m wrong but I think that just maybe God used this term “Helper”, to remind us of His expectation of us. He wants us to use the resources He has given us to make an impact in this world today. What resources has He given you?

Psalm 71:5 “My mouth will declare Your righteousness and Your salvation all day long, though I cannot know their full measure.”

The immediate resources you have can be your knowledge of what you know of God’s Truth. Using your voice to share with others what God has shown you. The expectation is not that you have some vast knowledge of Truth, it’s just sharing what you do know…now. I know there are many times the Lord gives me a Truth that is so relevant at the time and then He gives me people to share that with soon after.

Another tool might be your ability to listen. So few people take the time to hear others in this day and age. My wife is exceptional at this and the way people are drawn to her is a reflection of this gift she has.

Whether it’s your strength, boldness, insight, preaching, teaching, or the many other attributes people possess, you have the right stuff for God’s Kingdom. That which you lack, the Lord provides. He ‘Helps’ you when you are deficient, He prepares your way, and He even says that He will give you the right words when the opportunity presents itself.

Luke 12:11-12 “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

The sphere of influence we have been given is the measure that God has apportioned for you. You can rest in knowing that He is fully in control and He has placed you right where He wants you to be. When He wants you to move on, He will make that clear as well.

The village you dwell in is your call. The Lord commands His servants to go into the streets and byways and bring them in. The most unlovable people can oftentimes be the greatest joy to watch grow.

Go forth and fulfill your call.

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