I want to be faithful. I don’t want to be reactionary in my faith. Or innovative. Or on the edge of the envelope.
I want to be faithful as a steward in God’s house (1 Corinthians 4.2). As one who received the gospel of Christ and did something with it. Shared it. Put it out there for people to hear and respond to it.
If they reject it, that’s on their head. They will bear the consequences for their rejection. If they accept it, we have reason to rejoice together. We will join together in this blessed task and nuture our eternal hope together. Whatever the response to the message, however, my job — the job of us all — is to make sure they hear it in such a way that they can respond to it in faith.
So being faithful doesn’t mean sticking the gospel in the ground to keep it safe. Or propping it up on a pulpit so the same people can hear it week after week. The Lord won’t be happy with us if we return the gospel to him just as he gave it, in pristine condition, unchanged. He wants to see lives changed by the gospel.
Faithfulness with the gospel means making sure that the lost hear the message, as it was given to us in Scripture.
I suppose it really is true that everyone deserves to hear the gospel at least once before someone hears it twice. But must we choose between them? Why can’t we have enough workers in the Lord’s vineyard so that everyone can hear it often?
Maybe because it’s back-breaking work. Sometimes tedious, teaching that same material over and over again. Frustrating, seeing people walking away from it. Testing, when the fruit isn’t quick in appearing. Challenging, to apply the Word to a life so that the pagan mind will give up its desires and excuses and turn the self over to the Lord.
I’m not the best at what I do. I think I fail all too often. I frequently ask the Lord where all the fruit is that he promised. Sometimes I’m ready to tell him, a la Moses, to find somebody else for the job.
But who else is there? I’m not so foolish as to think myself indispensable, but in one sense, isn’t every Christian just that? If I don’t speak, if you don’t speak, there will be somebody who will lose his soul because of our silence.
Some folk may think I am reactionary, because I talk about the mission of the church so much. Maybe they call me that because they don’t want to be reminded of what the will of the Lord is. It’s hard to give up the view of the church as a monastery, rather than a missionary. The Lord will be their judge, so they’ll have to take that up with him.
And he will be my judge as well. I want to be well thought of, and I take care to give a good example for others, but beyond that, I don’t care how others view me. To the Lord I answer. Whatever label or tag others want to stick me with is their problem, not mine. My label is faithful. That works well for me.
“To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand” (Romans 14.4 NASB).