by Royce Bell
Trust God’s Power
Ever remember: For all we do, at whatever cost and in whatever numbers, the positive results of any effort are attributable to God and Him, Alone. For example, note the words of Paul, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth” (I Corinthians 3:6).
Set Your Heart
The work of the Lord is always the work of the heart. Frankly, I am always concerned when I hear of some high-powered preacher holding the feet of the assembled church to the fires of rebuke for their failed evangelistic, troubling the saints before boarding a plane to go back to his comfortable pulpit.
If our preachers are not, themselves, the examples of evangelistic zeal, leaving the inner sanctum of their own comfort zones and hitting the streets and by-ways with the message of eternal salvation, what right is theirs to hold an expectation of the church?
When confronted with the challenges of the duty before him on his return from Babylon to Jerusalem, it is recorded of the ready scribe of the law of Moses, “Ezra had set his heart to seek the law of Jehovah, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and ordinances” (Ezra 7:10, cf. Ezra 7:1-7). Get your heart right, and the evangelism will take care of itself.
Embrace the Joy
Too many saints see the work of ministering the gospel of Christ to sinners as an onerous task. Rather than see the immense benefit to sinners and the subsequent growth of the local church as a result of the obedience of a few, they see only the effort expended, or criticize the methods used.
Contrast that attitude with the response of Heaven when a sinner is saved: “Even so, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10). Dare we think less than Heaven?
Lift in Prayer
One of the cardinal features of Paul’s epistles is his constant requests for prayer. In particular, note how he connected the need for prayer to the task appointed to him by the Lord: “pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19).
- Pray for opportunities
- Pray for skill and commitment to the task
- Pray for those who come to Jesus in faith
- Pray in gratitude for God’s promised increase
Never Look Back
Our duty is too important to neglect. We have a rich heritage of faith, in which steps we walk. It matters now where we’ve been, the greatness of years we’ve known, the efforts of others now in the presence of the Lord, or the numbers in which we have revelled. It is the past and it is not in our interest to glory in it.
Rather, there is before us a great horizon of opportunity. In spite of plague and pandemic, decline, or disaster, God is still in charge. His work is eternal; His kingdom, invincible. His people are the best of all (in spite of our sometimes faithlessness and doubt); and His promises, secure. We need only lay claim to them.
Jesus said, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). There’s a field to plow and when the planting is done, eventually -- in God’s own time --the fields will be whitened for harvest. Indeed, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).