Strategic Connections – Nathan Shaw
Strategic connections are game changers. They open doors of opportunity that didn’t exist previously. Sometimes it can seem like nothing has happened for years—and then suddenly an unexpected connection changes everything. We are about to see a dramatic increase of strategic connections.
Twelve years ago I received an email from a pastor from Singapore. In the email he introduced himself and inquired about the possibility of ministering in New Zealand. God put New Zealand on this man’s heart but he didn’t know anyone from New Zealand. At the time a preacher from South Africa was ministering at his church. He asked the South African preacher if he knew anyone in New Zealand. The South African preacher had recently spoken at my church and gave the Singaporean pastor my contact.
I invited the pastor to New Zealand. We were blessed by his ministry but I didn’t expect what happened next. He opened up Asia for me through his many connections. Since then I have ministered in Asia many times. One of my books has even been translated into Chinese. God set up a strategic connection by putting New Zealand on the heart of a man I didn’t even know.
The bible is full of strategic connections but I want to focus on just three of them—a prostitute, an unnamed woman, and a demonized man. These connections are even more amazing when you consider that the prostitute was a Canaanite, the unnamed woman a Samaritan, and the demonized man a foreigner.
1. The Prostitute (Joshua 2)
Rahab was a prostitute in the Canaanite city of Jericho. Two Israelite men were sent to spy out the land of Canaan. They lodged the night at Rahab’s house. Word got out that the spies were in the city. Rahab hid them in her roof and then aided them to escape undetected. Rahab was a strategic connection for the spies. If it wasn’t for her they would have been killed. But the spies were also a strategic connection for Rahab. The spies promised protection for Rahab’s family. When Israel attacked Jericho, Rahab and her family were the only inhabitants who were spared. They became part of the nation of Israel.
2. The Unnamed Woman (John 4:1-42)
We know this woman as the Samaritan woman because Scripture doesn’t even reveal her name. Jesus passed through the region of Samaria on the way to Galilee. While His disciples went into a town to get some food He met a woman. The woman had come to draw water from the well outside the town. Although Jesus was hungry and thirsty he took the time to speak to her. The woman was astonished because Jesus knew intimate details about her life even although He had never met her. Going back into the town she convinced many to come and see Jesus. After hearing her testimony and hearing Jesus for themselves many of them believed that Jesus was the Savior of the world.
3. The Demonized Man (Mark 4:35-5:20)
This man is also unnamed. Jesus crossed the sea of Galilee and met a man who was severely possessed with demons. Jesus delivered the man of the demons. The change was dramatic. Naturally the man wanted to follow Jesus. Instead Jesus told him to stay in the region and testify to all that had happened. This man lived in the region of Decapolis which was beyond the borders of Israel. Most of Jesus’ ministry was to Israel but He also made brief excursions to some of the surrounding territories. Some time after the demonized man was delivered Jesus returned to the region (Mark 7:31-8:10). Multitudes came to hear Jesus in the wilderness. It was here that Jesus feed four thousand people by supernaturally multiplying a few loaves and fishes. How many of this multitude had heard of Jesus because of the demonized man’s story? God strategically connected Jesus with this man. It was part of God’s plan to reach people in the borders beyond Israel.
These examples demonstrate how strategic connections can impact families, towns and even whole regions.
- Rahab’s actions resulted in the salvation/deliverance of her whole family.
- The Samaritan woman’s testimony resulted in the salvation of many in her town.
- The demonized man’s testimony played a significant role in opening a whole region to Jesus.
Don’t underestimate the power of one strategic connection. Strategic connections can open unexpected doors of opportunity. The residents of Jericho, Samaria and Decapolis were all beyond Israel’s direct influence. In each case one strategic connection impacted many lives. Strategic connections can bring protection—just ask Rahab and the two spies. Strategic connections can also meet deep heart needs. The Samaritan woman had had five husbands. Her story was one of brokenness and pain. She had a need to be seen, heard and acknowledged.
There’s no rule for how strategic connections happen. Frequently they happen in the midst of our every day lives—in fact even while doing things as simple as lodging a couple of men or drawing water from a well. But strategic connections also happen when we take action and respond to God’s promptings. Jesus deliberately went into the foreign territory where he met the demonized man.
God has strategic connections for you. People are often encouraged to direct their faith toward specific things such as salvation for a family member, healing, deliverance or provision. May I encourage you to deliberately exercise your faith for strategic connections. Ask God for them. Expect them to happen. And pray that you recognize them when they do happen. But don’t be impatient. It is through faith and patience that we inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12). When strategic connections happen it is definitely worth the wait.
© 2017 Nathan Shaw.
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