But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner (Acts 9:40-43).
This was not a case of Peter breezing into town and flying out in a flash. He stayed for a while. He made a long-term connection with the people of Joppa, and continued to minister there.
In the NFL there are some players who spend their entire careers moving around from team to team, always looking for the best paycheck. Deion Sanders comes to mind. Terrell Owens is another. Then there are other players who choose to stay in one place and build their legacy with one team. Players like John Elway of the Denver Broncos, Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins, Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach of the Dallas Cowboys, and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. These guys were great partly because they stayed.
I have known people in business that could have been extremely successful if they would have just stayed in one job. But every time a slightly better offer comes along, they jump. They are always convinced that the grass is greener somewhere else.
I have also known people who could be useful in the kingdom of God if they would only commit to one church and stay. This seems to happen more often with people who consider themselves to be committed Christians. They talk about wanting the deep things of God, but they are always disgruntled at church. The worship isn’t good. The pastor isn’t spiritual. The fellowship isn’t genuine. It’s not entertaining enough. There aren’t enough activities. And on and on and on.
Now, the fact is that there are times when it’s time to move on. Peter didn’t stay in Joppa for the rest of his life. But he stayed for a while. He stayed long enough to make a difference.
Our church has been doing ministry in a West African nation since 2006. Initially, we thought we would work there with our adopted people group for three to five years. However, we have become convinced that we cannot really ever “unadopt” this people group. We will still work on the exit strategy; however, that strategy will not include abandoning them. We will stay there long enough to make a forever difference.
If you want to be used by God, you need to be willing to stay where you are as long as you can. That means you don’t run at the first sign of trouble. You don’t quit the first time things get difficult. You stay as long as it takes to get the job done.
Because of Jesus,