30 June 2009

Keep going and never give up

Without Christians in our neighbourhood, all would be lost!

Christians are employed by God to deliver a message to all people. That message informs them there is free forgiveness and new spiritual life from God through faith in Jesus Christ. ‘The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus our Lord.’

But sometimes Christians get slack and fail to deliver. Why might that be?

In the first place, we may have forgotten that everyone around us is in real danger.

After humans die, all of us are judged for the things we have done against God. Our only hope of forgiveness is Christ Jesus - ‘crucified in my place, taking the death penalty I deserved'. God has given us no other means of being forgiven except through his death for us. No Christ - no hope; only the prospect of facing God on my own.

Second, we may not really love or care for those around us. That’s a terrible thing to say, but how else can we explain our indifference? Every day we just ‘walk by’ people that we know are headed for destruction, without delivering the message that can save them. O for an atom of the deep compassion that the great evangelists have for the lost! Then I might care for other people’s well-being more than what they think of me.

Third, we may have grown discouraged. We may have set out with hopeful enthusiasm, only to be met by no interest, or scorn, or worse - someone we love coming close to faith, but then turning away. Maybe after much prayer, and effort, and many attempts we just feel we’re a failure at this and ‘best to leave it to others’. This is the clever tactic on the part of the devil, who is the enemy of the human soul. And one of his chief weapons is to discourage those whose job it is to deliver the message that saves souls. The work God has given us is hard, but we dare not give up.

Fourth, we may feel we’re rubbish at delivering the message. But like most things in life, it just takes a bit of help and a lot of practice. And we can always bring people to hear other Christians who can explain things more clearly than we can. Even a CD or DVD or book will do – any way of delivering the message is better than none.

So, Christians! Keep going and never give up. Our neighbourhood depends on you to deliver the gospel. Without you, all will be lost.

If you’re not a Christian, reading this, and you know a Christian, ask them to tell you the gospel (and try to forgive them for not telling you sooner!).

Simon Smallwood
Vicar of St George’s