A pastor friend and mentor of mine was working in the garage one day and his six year old son was helping, sweeping up dirt, grabbing tools from the tool box, hammering a nail cockeyed into a board, delighting in doing his best to imitate the father he loved and admired. Mom came out saying, “It’s time for lunch, wash your hands” and the son said with an air of pride and importance, “I’m not done helping Dad get his work done”. The son’s work was messy, but brought great delight to his Father’s heart. While his father could have finished his work on his own more effectively, it was much more rewarding to have his son partner with him.
I saw two neighbors walking along the street that I live on, and one of them, a Christian, introduced me to the other as the neighborhood evangelist. I gave both of them tracts, and the Christian said that “even evangelism can be an idol”.
It’s important to understand our Father’s heart in evangelism, Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Luke 10:2), and “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), and “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19), and “you shall be My witnesses… to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The Father is delighted with us when we obey Him in evangelism, and He takes our inadequacies, weaknesses, mixed motives, fears, and uses us wonderfully in spite of these. But the Father takes no delight in those not obeying Him, He said “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) and, “Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26).
Friday four of us evangelized on the streets of Indy, and eight men and four women gave us their phone numbers for follow up, interested in checking out our church, and some were at the brink of desiring to repent and believe in Christ. I believe in spite of our shortcomings, the Father was rejoicing in His children evangelism.
In the last days before Jesus returns, there will be much evangelism and many scoffers, (2 Peter 3:3-4, Revelation 11:9-10), but the Father is so excited to see His children sacrifice their lives to bring many sons and daughters to glory, and “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” (Revelation 12:11).
The end result of that sacrifice?
“Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:13-14.
The end times are a time of great harvest! It’s certainly no time to shrink back, but to boldly proclaim Jesus! As the world and its hopes crash and burn (see Revelation chapters 17-18), people need to hear from followers of Jesus where their only hope and salvation is: our Lord Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sin!
Knowing this is the Fathers heart, and He gives us great boldness. As the early church suffered much opposition, persecution and martyrdom and God’s word spread rapidly, so too will it be in the last days, and as the Lord gave the early church evangelists everything they needed to endure persecution, so too will we be given all that we need to continue being His witnesses.
Was my neighbor right about idols?
Paul had his motives for ministry questioned by religious teachers. He wrote, “I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” 1 Corinthians 4:3-4.