Tomorrow is the last day of 2016, and many are breathing a sigh of relief for fairly obvious reasons. It’s been a wild and crazy ride, make no mistake. There’s a tension in the air, especially along political lines.[1. Which makes sense given that, as Michael Wear mentioned in an interview recently, “we have a politics right now that is based on making enemies, and making people afraid.”] Some people are scared (some for legitimate reasons, others possibly less so), others have a bit too much swagger in their step. Some probably think the Benedict Option looks pretty good right now.
Listening to the chatter online and in personal conversations, I am often frustrated along with those who are afraid and uncertain, and irritated by the smugness I see from a few. But more than that, I am recognizing just how great the need is around us.
Truth be told, I do believe we live in a scary time as we see the western world changing at a rapid pace (though it’s been a long time coming, truth be told). The new “fundamentalism” is taking shape, one built upon a foundation of the denial of our Creator. It’s one where, as a Christian, there is a temptation to keep your head down and pray no one notices you. But a little while ago, I was hit between the eyes by Luke 10:2, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (HCSB). Specifically, Jesus’ words, “the workers are few.”
What we need to remember is that regardless of our uncertainty of the day, these words of Jesus are still true. All of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus to be committed to gospel ministry, right now. To make the gospel known in our local context and assist in the effort to reach every nation and people. Here are four actions I’m asking us all to consider:
Commit to caring for your own soul. As much as we all need to be committed to furthering the gospel, we also need to be focusing on the state of our own souls. Commit to regular habits of prayer and Bible reading and study. Maintain a commitment to your local church (or find one if you’re not in one) and take every opportunity to gather with your fellow believers. So how is this part of your life? How are you caring for yourself?
Commit to sharing the gospel where you are. Yes, that does mean evangelizing, though it doesn’t necessarily mean going door-to-door or street preaching or whatever. It does mean being open about your faith and not demurring from the opportunities that arise naturally to speak. It means being compassionate toward your friends, family, and neighbors who don’t know Christ. Which also means knowing people who don’t know Christ. So who do you know? What opportunities is God putting in front of you?
Commit to serving in your local church for the good of your community. What are the needs your church can meet in your city or town? How can your congregation be a part of caring for those in need, demonstrating the love of Christ in tangible ways while also sharing the good news of Christ?
Commit to supporting the mission globally. For some of us, maybe this is the year we go on the mission trip we’ve been avoiding. Or the year we decide to sponsor a child with Compassion. Or support missionaries around the world through organizations like the IMB. Maybe it’s even the year we become missionaries. We all have an opportunity to play a role in seeing the world reached with the gospel. How will you be a part of it?
These are not groundbreaking, revolutionary ideas. They are simple, practical ways we can be a part of seeing the good news go forward. Of seeing workers go out into the field. And maybe, just maybe, seeing more of the harvest reaped.