It is stunning to realize that time has now brought us into the twenty-first century. Many of us thought that the Lord would have come long before this, but in the providence of God we are still here. Therefore we do well to ask ourselves, “Why?” Is it that we may become more successful, accumulate more wealth, and enjoy the comforts and pleasures of life, or is it not rather that we should occupy till He come? (Luke 19:13)
We should not deceive ourselves by saying, “My lord delayeth His coming” (Matt 24:48), or, “All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (II Pet 3:4). Let us rather awake out of sleep, look at conditions around us, and realize that this old world system cannot continue much longer. Our time here at best is very short. Thus, in view of the solemn day in which we live and the brevity of our lives, let us look on the fields white already to harvest, the laborers being few. May we all search our hearts as to our priorities and commitment in life.
One of the most pressing needs today as we have launched out into the new century and new millennium is the need to Evangelize.
– Missionaries need to be commended to foreign lands.
– Evangelists need to go forth in the homeland in a full time capacity.
– Assemblies and individuals need to reach out with the gospel.
Men do not automatically become missionaries and evangelists the moment they resign from secular employment. Therefore we must as individuals and assemblies be in a spiritual condition for God to use us (II Tim 2:2 1). Ideally at conversion we should, like Paul, inquire from God as to our future service and be willing to accept the path of His choosing (Acts 9:6). However, many of us do not reach that point of consecration until later in life and, alas, many others may never come to it at all. But if we by faith could again visit Calvary to appreciate the depths of suffering the Lord Jesus endured for us, the sentiments of our heart would be as the hymn writer expressed:
“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my heart, my life, my all.”
Such appreciation will cause us to be emptied of self and filled by the Spirit, allowing God to use us in His service.
While we should all be laborers together in the work of the Lord, not all are called to leave their secular employment. Nevertheless, the Lord’s work demands first place in all our lives. Early in our Christian experience we should try to ascertain the Lord’s leading. It is a serious thing to stifle the prompting of the Holy Spirit if He is calling us to leave all in service to the best of Masters. On the other hand, it can cause endless havoc and sorrow if one should step into such a sphere without being called of God.
Those who have not heard the call of God to step out into full time service must not conclude that they have little or no part in this great work. Having ascertained the gift that God has imparted to us at conversion, let us use this ability to its greatest potential and not neglect our responsibility. Aquila and Priscilla hazarded their lives for the sake of the gospel (Rom 16:3-4), while still making tents to support their daily needs, giving a valued contribution to the work of God. Today, we would ask, where are those who are willing to sacrifice and labor, not only in the assembly and in gospel outreach, but also in the home sphere?
Another neglected area is the distribution of gospel literature. We thank God for the many organized distributions of Seed Sower packages etc. but in personal activities many opportunities are lost when we neglect to pass on a gospel paper or a word of testimony as opportunity arises.
Those who are elders and shepherds in God’s assemblies should show hospitality to all of the Lord’s people (I Tim 3:2), but particularly to younger believers who display an interest in spiritual things. Here they can be instructed and encouraged in their study of the Word and in their exercise to serve the Lord. This was a very common practice in a previous generation, but, alas, today it is very rare.
Perhaps this is one reason why fewer young couples have been commended to full time service. If we have failed to encourage such, we as elders must share the blame for this.
As we conclude, we must challenge our hearts, having a deep settled commitment, to spend more time in God’s interests and less time for selfish pursuits. To receive the well done at the Bema of Christ when life is passed should make us more determined to let the material world have less attraction and to have a greater ambition to give our all to Him who gave His all for us. This will enable us to give up that which “we cannot keep, to gain that which we cannot lose.”