A friend sent me this brief devotional today from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, and it was such a beautiful reminder to me. It is a challenge to each and every one of us as we seek to share the Gospel with others. So often I tend to become frustrated when I don’t see results from the “ministry” I am doing. As I was reading this morning in the book of Mark, one of the religious leaders challenged Jesus by asking Him what the greatest commandment is. Jesus replied simply, but yet the significance of His few words are profound.
He answered them, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. There is no greater commandment than these.” – Mark 12:29-31. God cares above all that we love Him with our whole being. As Chambers states in his devotional, the challenge for the missionary (those who follow Jesus) is not as much about whether or not people come to faith through our ministry, but rather about our own personal relationship with God and our hearts’ disposition toward Him. This is a great heart check for all who follow Jesus:
“Jesus Christ did not say, “Go and save souls” (the salvation of souls is the supernatural work of God), but He said, “Go . . . make disciples of all the nations . . . .” Yet you cannot make disciples unless you are a disciple yourself. When the disciples returned from their first mission, they were filled with joy because even the demons were subject to them. But Jesus said, in effect, “Don’t rejoice in successful service— the great secret of joy is that you have the right relationship with Me” (see Luke 10:17-20). The missionary’s great essential is remaining true to the call of God, and realizing that his one and only purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus. Remember that there is a passion for souls that does not come from God, but from our desire to make converts to our point of view.
The challenge to the missionary does not come from the fact that people are difficult to bring to salvation, that backsliders are difficult to reclaim, or that there is a barrier of callous indifference. No, the challenge comes from the perspective of the missionary’s own personal relationship with Jesus Christ— “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28). Our Lord unwaveringly asks us that question, and it confronts us in every individual situation we encounter. The one great challenge to us is— do I know my risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit? Am I wise enough in God’s sight, but foolish enough according to the wisdom of the world, to trust in what Jesus Christ has said? Or am I abandoning the great supernatural position of limitless confidence in Christ Jesus, which is really God’s only call for a missionary? If I follow any other method, I depart altogether from the methods prescribed by our Lord— “All authority has been given to Me . . . . Gotherefore. . .” (Matthew 28:18-19).”