It was a significant statement by Luke when he wrote that the church was “scattered throughout . . . Samaria” (Acts 8:1). Prior to this time, the Christians lived in the familiar surroundings of Jerusalem—home to the memories of Pentecost and the explosive expansion of the church. The early Christians would have been content to stay there forever. But persecution scattered them into a new territory—Samaria.

Samaria was beyond their comfort zone. They saw it as a vile place that decent Jews avoided. Old Testament prophets denounced Samaria, and Nehemiah knew enough about the Samaritans’ character not to let them help with the building of the temple (Neh. 2:19-20). Because of the longstanding social and religious barriers between Jews and Samaritans, the early Christians were able to imagine God as a fence-keeper.

But God tore down the fences with Samaria. He hates anything that keeps the gospel from people. Jesus had ordered His followers to be witnesses in Samaria (Acts 1:8), but it took the threat of death to get the young church to take Christ’s fence-breaking commission seriously.

What fences are keeping you from sharing your faith? Do you need to move beyond your comfort zone?