Summary: This is no time for any man of God or serious Christian to be shy, hesitant, compromising, or half-hearted in our commission from the Lord Jesus Christ to go out into the world and preach His Gospel. Today is the day to be bold for the kingdom of God.
Fellow preachers and servants in Christ, I must admit that it seems as if we are proclaiming the truth of the Gospel to stone walls these days. I have never seen such indifference and apathy in people concerning the state of their souls as I do now. We see and hear of so-called “believers” walking away from the faith they had claimed to possess and defend. Due to the “pandemic” and its aftermath, churches are either being threatened to shut down, face arrest, or be forced to pay ridiculous fines that the government does not seem to place on bars, strip joints, stores, and other public places.
Even the best and boldest of us are wearing thin in our work for the kingdom of God. And just as the Bible states, we are being wearied by the continual onslaught of the world’s evil and maliciousness that comes from all directions.
The hatred towards the Lord Jesus and us is growing every minute here in America and around the world. I have been watching pastors and concerned believers talk about the certainty of meeting in secret from now on due to rising government and local persecution and harassment. Those of us who are awaiting the “Blessed Hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) are being bullied and berated by some brethren who get almost apoplectic when you mention the word “rapture.” They are ready to verbally go to war with you if you even so much as want to discuss the event, let alone being prepared for that inevitable day (Romans 10:9-10) or the day when you quit breathing and assume room temperature (Hebrews 9:27).
Let us put differences of prophetic interpretation aside for a moment and reevaluate where we have come from, what is happening now, and what needs to be done in spite of the rampant evil that is swallowing the world. Go back to the beginning and remember who you were before the Lord Jesus saved you. What were you like? A literal hell-raiser, or a quiet skeptic, or a garden variety pagan who believed that you were “good enough” to enter the portals of heaven when you died?
Think what would have happened to you if someone had been too lazy or afraid to tell you about Jesus. Think on what would have happened if you had not gone with that friend or family member to the church service, youth group meeting, revival, home Bible study, or even the incident that got you to consider what would happen to you after you died and were not ready (Luke 12:13-21).
Look back on the way that the LORD graciously called you to come to Him for true peace and rest (Matthew 11:28-30; John 10:28-30). Have you forgotten the joy, amazement, gratitude, or maybe the tears of repentance and relief you shed when you knew that your sins were wiped away, never to be remembered by God ever again? (Psalm 103:8-12). Has the work of the LORD taken you away from the LORD of the work, like the church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7)?
We are fallible, imperfect, and limited in our strengths and abilities, brethren. Why do we feel we have to put a superhero suit on every day and do a million things in the name of “ministry” when the most important thing we should ever do as men of God is to spend time with the Author of the Word, studying and meditating upon it?
We need to recapture the wonder and awe of being in the presence of the Holy, Sovereign, King of Kings, and not worry about the meetings or other considerations. Get back in touch with the wife and children who love you and stick with you in spite of it all. Approach the King (Hebrews 4:14-16) today, ask Him to forgive you of becoming indifferent, angry, apathetic, and unfocused on your true calling, and that is to win souls for the kingdom. Giving the blessing over the green bean casseroles at the monthly senior luncheon can be done by someone else. You need to get back with God and His infallible, all-sufficient Word (2 Timothy 2:15, 3:16-17) and your family.
By the way, ministry can be defined in a variety of ways, and that reality had to hit me like a ton of bricks, along with the insight of the love of my life for nearly forty years. She told me that my talent lay in teaching and writing, and I am glad that I finally got around to seeing her point of view and wisdom after all these years. I kick myself mentally for not listening to the LORD as I ought to have at times, but I cannot redo the past, and neither can you (Philippians 3:12-14).
Now, I do like to stand before a congregation or classroom and present the truth of God’s Word and the salvation provided in Christ in the churches I have served in the past, save for one. I loved and did my best to serve them as a loving pastor should, but it was not what was intended for me, and I dragged my poor family along for the journey, oblivious at times to their feelings and concerns. So, what I have written here is from a life of both graciousness and grief, and I thank the LORD that He saw fit to use me when I behaved like a mule that needed to learn not to kick against a goad (Acts 9:5). My health plays a role in what I do for the LORD from now on, and it seems that with writing and the occasional opportunity to teach the Word, I have found my niche.
Whatever we do for a living as Christians, we do it as unto the LORD (1 Corinthians 10:31), and we are to do our jobs as a testimony to what the Lord Jesus has done in our lives, not being “holier than thou” but to imitate the life of our LORD in all aspects despite whatever comes our way (1 Peter 2:18-25). It is not easy to do as we are bombarded with the maliciousness of this world constantly, and there is always the temptation to repay evil for evil. Sometimes you have to defend yourself, your loved ones, and the faith you possess (Luke 22:36-37; 1 Peter 3:15), so pacifism is not a viable option.
What I want to say is that the work we do is just as much a ministry as if we were behind a pulpit. The great reformer and preacher John Calvin (1509-1564), certainly no slouch, praised honest labor and craftsmanship as a vital means of presenting the Gospel. His untiring transformation of the city of Geneva, Switzerland, into an economic and moral powerhouse was sufficient evidence of his claim.
If you are reading this and your job is to mop the floors and clean a building, or collect trash, or you’re a skilled laborer and feel that you might not be doing your best for the glory of the LORD where you are, remember that He has given you that talent, skill, and necessity to make this world somewhat tolerable to live in until Jesus returns, along with the opportunity to share your testimony that a regular clergy member might not be able to reach.
The bottom line of all of this is to encourage you — whether you are a pastor, teacher, craftsman, or another type of worker — to stay focused on the message and lifestyle expected of you by the Lord Jesus, to be ready to give a reason as to why you follow Him, to be immersed in His Word, and to obey His leading wherever it might end.
People are lost, dying, and heading to hell because the devil has been busy getting our minds and emotions tied to the political atmosphere in this nation, or angry over the “cancel culture” and other social ills, or upset over anything and everything in order to keep you away from time with Jesus and to go out and do what He said, and that was to spread the Gospel in your locality or Jerusalem, Samaria, and uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8-11). He is getting ready to come back, brethren, so take a deep breath, calm down, keep doing your jobs, love your families (warts and all), pray for each other, and rededicate your life and all that you are to His Lordship and leading.
Remain faithful, and be the good soldier in the fight (Ephesians 6:10-18; Hebrews 10:25). If a bunch of ragtag nobodies whom Jesus called two thousand years ago got the job done and started the evangelism ball rolling, then there is nothing to stop you nor deter you (Matthew 16:18).
The Word of God is sharp and strong (Hebrews 4:12). Never be tempted or pressured to water it down or neglect any part of it. Do not concern yourself with what the world thinks. You do not answer to them (2 Corinthians 5:10). Even if you think you never did anything more than give a cup of cold water to a stranger, or pass a tract to someone, just wait until you see what that produced when you arrive in glory (1 Corinthians 2:8-9).
Brethren, following Jesus is worth it all. Now, get up and carry on.