“Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
In today’s Bible reading we see how Jesus sent 72 people to share the good news of the kingdom of God throughout hostile territory beyond his homeland. When they returned, they were excited about their success. But Jesus cautioned them against getting so hooked on positive results that they would lose sight of their eternal reward for being faithful witnesses.
In his book Evangelism after Christendom, Bryan Stone cautions the church against the idol of winning converts. His concern is that if the end goal of witness is conversion, many of us won’t do it wisely. We may even be afraid to start for fear of failure or rejection. Likewise, if our end goal is church attendance or growth, some leaders may justify any means, including watering down Christianity or packaging it merely in terms of personal benefits like health, wealth, or power in positive thinking. Jesus sends us out simply to witness to his grace and truth in our lives. Convicting and converting is the work of the Holy Spirit.
What about you? Have you been unwilling or afraid to witness for God because the goal seems impossible? What if you changed your goal simply to be a faithful witness and left the rest to God? Consider that God is the One who will accomplish the end when we focus faithfully on the means.
Dear God, give us the grace to be faithful to you and faithful about you to others. We trust your Spirit to convict and convert those who don’t know you as their Savior and Lord. Amen.
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