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By Allen White
By Allen White
Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. Matthew 15:21-28
Jesus had his hands full reaching the lost people of Israel. The first phase of His mission was to reach Jerusalem before the church spread to Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8). Canaanites didn’t fit into phase one, but this one did.
The disciples were ready to send her away. After all, Jesus was ready for some R & R. They withdrew to a place where needy people weren’t knocking at their door. Then, there was a knock.
Didn’t this Canaanite woman understand? There was a mission statement and a vision statement and a ministry strategy. She didn’t fit into the right category. If she simply followed the org chart, she would discover which phase her need fit into. Didn’t she know doing things out of order created chaos?
People in need don’t give much attention to order. Pain drives people past convention. If you hurt bad enough, you’ll jump to the front of the line.
Several years ago at our church in California, a young woman approached me before the service. She didn’t have money to feed her children or provide shelter for them. I heard her words, but I was distracted by her smell. I couldn’t guess how many days she’d been without a shower.
I told her that the church would help her. She was grateful. Then, she asked, “Do I need to attend the service?”
On the one hand, the service might have encouraged her. On the other hand, I thought about the people sitting two or three (or many six) rows in front or behind her in the service. While body odor shouldn’t keep anyone away from the Gospel, I really didn’t foresee a positive outcome for anyone involved.
There was something in the way she asked that told me she had been helped by a church before. The help usually came at the condition of attending a service. She really wasn’t interested in the service.
I never saw that woman again. I hope I will see her and her children in Heaven one day. You can debate whether I did the right thing or whether I was derelict in my duties. I helped her with her need. I didn’t share the Gospel with her. I didn’t require her to attend the service. Oh, and neither did Jesus.
Jesus allowed an exception to His plan. He healed the daughter of a Canaanite woman, even though her people were farther down on the mission statement. He didn’t challenge her to repent. He didn’t proclaim to be the Messiah. Jesus met a practical need in a supernatural way. That was all that was on the agenda that day.
Who do you wish would just go away? Who needs help? Who’s not on your agenda? Ask Jesus how He wants you to help them.
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