As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
- Romans 10:11-17
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
- 1 Corinthians 1:17
“In 1994, the Washington Monument underwent a renovation. While under construction, workers found nineteenth century graffiti on the lobby walls, but not the kind you might expect on buildings or subways today. The writing, covered during decorating at the turn of the century, said, ‘Whoever is the human instrument under God in the conversion of one soul, erects a monument to his own memory more lofty and enduing than this.’ In other words, leading just one person to salvation is monumental.
“In today’s verse [1 Corinthians 1:17], Paul was writing the church at Corinth. He reminded them they were to follow Christ only. He explained they shouldn’t get caught up in lofty words or logistics of baptism, but in the plain directive from Christ to preach the gospel and share the salvation story with others.
“Jesus commands you to do the same (Mark 16:15). Know that if you convert one soul by sharing Christ, you’ve made a lasting monument.”
- Presidential Prayer Team Devotion
In reading the devotion, I could have written about ‘graffiti I have read,’ but most of it is not repeatable.
I agree that leading someone to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is a monumental thing, but a lot must precede that moment and a lot of work is done toward sanctification after that moment. It is never a one-man job, and God does the saving anyway. As many other blogs have mentioned over the past year or so, leading someone to Jesus is rarely a single encounter. It may take many little steps. Relationship evangelism got its start from that idea that the more effective modern method of evangelism is the proving of our love for God through our daily lives as opposed to the single encounter. Yet, even with relationship evangelism, we must be able to back up our actions and attitudes with words once the opportunity arises.
I recently took a spiritual gifts survey as part of our Sunday school class. I may revisit my distaste for the questionnaire later, but too many of the questions depended upon experience and concrete results. The one question that I struggled with the most was whether I had led someone to accept Jesus as his / her Savior. I hope that I have led a lot of people on their journey toward salvation. I have had a few that said that I was a great influence along the way.
Once, at a Methodist church youth service, I, a recent convert, was asked to come forward to pray with people who came down for the altar call. I’m Presbyterian. Presbyterians do not do altar calls, but there I was. I knew the words to say, so why not. I only had one guy come forward to my side of the altar, a classmate. Does being the guy who prayed with someone count? I did not preach that night. I only prayed as my classmate prayed.
The problem with the survey was that it contained 135 questions, most like that, impossible to give a clear cut answer. But the biggest problem is that the survey will not change anything regarding my walk with the Lord, thus, for me, a waste of time. Maybe the survey helps a few.
But the Scriptures and the devotion speak of being bold, and not backing down. Too many Christians these days are so worried about political correctness that they are mute in public. They may say a good story inside the ‘safe’ walls of the home or church, but they wither at the office.
My last job lasted about 20 years. The ‘religious atmosphere’ at work started with being careful because there were followers of a variety of religions and an occasional atheist in the office. Please, do not offend a co-worker was the idea. It went to not saying anything, unless asked, about anything religious. It ended with having a Bible, visible in your backpack, was an offense that would lead to termination. Yet, the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. were not given such restrictions. Our Christmas party turned into the “Holiday Festival,” but the old-timers let the word ‘Christmas’ slip on occasion. The horrible thing was that near the end, I was the Quality Manager and I was, therefore, the policy policeman. I hated that part of my job. I only warned people rather than writing them up or getting them fired. Kind of passive aggressive resistance to oppression.
Yet, outside an environment where you lose your job because you are a Christian, doing what Christians should do, what are you willing to do? Is it safe to do it?
The author of Beauty Beyond Bones recently went to the entrance of a Planned Parenthood clinic (across the street, due to the sidewalk belonging to the proprietor). She prayed throughout the day. She was called names, given ugly looks, attacked by a bird, and laughed at. By the Grace of God, nothing worse. But she did what she could, publicly.
If we are not bold, the evil in this world will take away everything freedom that we think we now possess. Maybe that is when Jesus returns, but, if that, Jesus returned because we were weak, ineffective and, dare I say it, running scared.
Be bold today. In some places in the world, being too bold can cause you to literally lose your head. This should be a warning to the parts of the world, like the US and Europe, that are becoming more secularized. If we exhibit apathy, instead of boldness, the bold who are evil will take away what rights we may have retained. Just loving others as God loves you in such an environment where loss of life is possible might be considered bold, but within the restrictions of conventional wisdom, we still need to be bold.
Will we have a monument built in our honor? Probably not, for it would point in the wrong direction unless it was a simple cross. No, no monument, but for boldly expressing your faith, you will be monumental.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.