At a local Bible study last night, one attendee shared a prayer request for his former church. During his time on the church board, they hired a new pastor, who served several years. According to this man, the pastor “promised to evangelize and do all kinds of other ministry stuff. But he hadn’t done any of it.” So recently, that pastor was fired.
If the pastor was truly let go for not evangelizing, the congregation probably should have been fired too. According to Bill Bright, a Campus Crusade for Christ survey of professing Christians found that “a bare 2 percent regularly share their faith in Christ.”
How many professing believers would agree that Christ’s great commission to “make disciples of all nations” was given to all Christians? And yet, how few actually talk with unbelievers about Jesus on a regular basis?
What renders so many mute? Are we crippled by fear of rejection? Are we concerned what people think of us more than what our Heavenly Father thinks? Do we crave the pleasures of this fallen world more than His affection? It’s time for a heart check: “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 Jn. 2:15).
We’ve zeroed in on one area of disobedience, but let’s apply this principle more broadly too. How many times do we promise to act and then don’t follow through? We may set the bar high to feel accomplished, but we never actually accomplish much of anything. We make to do lists and set goals, but we develop selective amnesia and never look back at them. We fear feeling like failures when we fall short. If we never try, we think we’ve escaped failure’s grasp. So, procrastination becomes a new roommate. Does fear of failure hinder you? Haven’t we experienced enough hope deferred and dreams that die? Do you have a sick heart (Prov. 13:12)?
This is a call to be faithful. Examine yourself and ask, “LORD, why is this fear in me?” We need to deal with fear like any other sin: to declare war on it, to memorize Scriptures about it, to take steps to overcome it, to ask others in our community of believers to pray with us and encourage us through. Loved and trusted people can help us accomplish the goals the Holy Spirit has laid on our hearts. When we’re witnessing, we can go out with others. Jesus sent His disciples out two by two to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons (Mk. 6:7-12; Lk. 10:1-20).
On top of that, let’s take initiative that says, “When I write down this goal, I’ll start on it today.” Take at least one little step immediately that moves you toward the finish line. In my free time, when I’m not purposefully resting—which must also be budgeted into my schedule—I’ll be working on one of my goals. Do something eternally meaningful. Prioritize goals based on how valuable they are for your life and ministry. Then, start on the most important, and work to the least. You may never get to the action items on the bottom of your list, and that’s okay. They’re on the bottom for a reason.
When you catch yourself doing something mindless that doesn’t glorify Jesus, provide for your rest, build into the lives of others, or accomplish some of the goals that He’s called you to, get up and stop it. Ditch it. Change. Grow. Let’s be a people that put our hands to the plow and refuse to look back, lest we be found unfit for service in the Kingdom (Lk. 9:62).
Pause for a moment: what has Jesus called you to do? Are you doing it? If you have difficulty hearing His voice, could it be because you’ve neglected what He’s said to you in the past?
It shouldn’t take a mountaintop experience or a natural disaster for us to evangelize and be obedient to Jesus, living holy lives that follow in His footsteps (1 Jn. 2:6). What if our regular prayer time with Him was enough to motivate and put a fire beneath us to preach the Gospel and be who we’ve been called to be, as His children and new creations in Christ?
Then the daily prayer time that’s been on our mental to do list since we got saved would finally become a habit. And the Bible reading plan we’ve had shoved in a drawer for years might be put to use.
Are you part of the congregation that would get fired for not evangelizing? Let’s receive the fire and love of the Holy Spirit to go tell others about Jesus. Even when people reject us, let’s love them still and rejoice, for great is our reward in Heaven (Mt. 5:12; Lk. 6:23). It’s by obeying His commands that we show Jesus we love Him (Jn. 14:21). By deeply loving one another, we show the world we love Him too (Jn. 13:35). We don’t act out of dead obligation, but because we’re doing great exploits as the Living Lord Jesus empowers us (Dan. 11:32). Maybe then, we’ll finally be able to check something off our to do lists.
Also posted on Thrive80: http://www.thrive80.com/2011/06/paster-fired-for-not-evangelizing-faithfulness-with-to-do-lists/