Just a little heart to heart post after our time in Greece. It was hot, but how wonderful to be with so many saints serving in different parts of the world. I loved hearing about everyone's ministry stories and how God is working in various countries. Though fruit is not always abounding, we know He is working mightily among our friends/colleagues and the nationals they work with.
One missionary reminded me about Jesus who spent more time ministering
in Capernaum (His dwelling place, Matt 4:13) than any place in His short
time here on earth. Yet in Matt 11:23-24, He cursed it for the
inhabitants' unbelief. Could He have failed in His evangelism?
In this time and age when churches are preoccupied with numbers,
sometimes they prematurely pronounce those who raised their hands during
an invitation as truly counted among the saints. One FB friend recently
posted, "100 kids in VBS and 10 got saved today." Discipleship,
nurturing and teaching of these "new" believers are lacking, so churches
don't really know how many of those professing faith are truly saved.
They're content to have a number to report, then move on. Missionaries
fall into this trap as well, especially because it looks good when we
send out prayer letters.
The success of ministry should not be measured by sheer numbers, but by
the faithfulness and devotion of the minister to Christ and His mission.
Otherwise, both Jesus and Paul were utter failures in their fields. Our
job is to proclaim Him and work tirelessly for His glory. It's His job
to bring results. And let me tell you, what a relief this is for us
missionaries! Lack of response and slow progress are major encouragement
and motivation-killers. But then when we remember it is God who brings
fruit, we continue on. It is His mission, His work and His kingdom after
all, and in heaven, none of His people will have been forgotten or
overlooked. Praise God who is sovereign in all things!
"Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor
is not in vain." I Cor 15:58