Saturday, July 7, 2012

Laboring Not in Vain

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

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