“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Christian Hobos, by Randall D. Kittle

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I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday. There I was sitting in a church-service listening to someone tell us about their recent outreach in a remote, third-world country. With great zeal they shared of their willingness to travel around the globe to anywhere the Lord might lead and do whatever they can to help bring the Good News to others. As they finished sharing, the Lord told me to read Romans 10:14-15. The service continued on as I read with great interest the verses: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’”

“Yes,” I thought to myself, “God desires many to go forth and declare the Good News of the gospel so the lost can believe in the Lord and be saved.” It seemed to be an affirmation to what was being said by the speaker. Even more clearly than before I heard the Lord speak, telling me to read the last verse again. As I read it, the word
“sent” seemed to come alive and jump off the page! “And how shall they preach unless they are SENT?” And then the Lord declared, “The Church is full of Christian hobos who journey about in My name because they like to travel. They are willing to go anywhere, but not willing to stay at home until I send them. Unless I send them, they do not truly preach My Good News regardless of what they say. It is their love of travel and adventure they serve, and by their tramping they have displaced many of those whom I have longed to send out in My service. Tell the Church to quit supporting these Christian hobos who refuse to either work or wait upon Me!”

Willing Wayfarers
There are many who represent themselves as having evangelistic or apostolic callings whose primary qualification for itinerant ministry is merely wanderlust. They are not missionaries; they are travelers who vacation in the name of the Lord and at His expense. They may go out and do things for God, but they have not been sent out by God. It is not the Lord but their own craving for excitement they serve. Despite whatever tales they might tell, they are not suffering servants but vicarious vagabonds. And their fruit will be both small and stunted for the seal of approval upon their plans is not the seal of the Holy Spirit but the seal stamped in their passports. One of the saddest things about these Christian hobos is that they are wasting the resources God has designed for those He desires to send out to proclaim His Gospel.

It is time for us both as individuals and churches to evaluate those whom we support in traveling ministries. It is not that God wants us to spend less (indeed, as the end of the age progresses we will be spending far more); He simply wants us to be certain His seal is upon their traveling papers. Any Christian hobo can get a passport, but only those the Lord sends out will go forth in His full anointing. It is important that those we consider supporting are not only part of a home church, but sent out from that church. Has the leadership they are accountable to sensed God's calling and timing to send them out? As the Church continues to grow in apostolic power, it will be increasingly important that we carefully differentiate between those whom God desires to send out, and those who are merely willing and wanting to go. After all, the word “apostolic” does mean
“sent out ones.” This and nothing less will impact the world and bring forth the fruit the Lord desires in the days ahead.


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