“So shall my [the LORD God’s] word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
– Isaiah 55:11
This past weekend in Perryton, Texas, the Word was preached and taught. It went forth before us and worked in many student’s (and I’m also sure adult’s) lives. The gospel was explained with clarity and with passion across the board, from our bible study sessions to worship, and even dropped here and there in between. Every time I heard the word of God or spoke the word of God this weekend, my heart was warmed, encouraged, and convicted. This weekend in particular had a passionate focus on the life-changing, one and only, God-given gospel of Jesus Christ. And yet, while teaching right from the heart the need for a Savior, I saw some of the students unengaged, taking the truth like a chore, and simply not caring about the gospel. Why?
First, I personally thought about my methods. Was I meeting these students where they were at spiritually? Was I giving enough easy-to-understand illustrations to explain certain points? Was I sounding passionate myself, or did I sound just as bored as some of them looked? Then I remembered the above quoted verse, Isaiah 55:11. The Word of God does all the work, I am just to be faithful to the preaching and teaching of the Word. The Word of God is sent from God and the response is sent back to God, and only sometimes will I be there to witness that in the lives of those I teach. The Word of God is sent to accomplish the Lord’s purposes, not mine. I often want immediate, dramatic life-change in every student’s heart, but God has a more perfect purpose than immediate results. He wants a relationship, and oftentimes relationships need time. There’s not enough emotionally charged experiences I can share, enough passionate bible teaching I can do, or enough accurate illustrations I can use to change the heart of any person. Only God can take out their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. I can only share the truth and trust that God can and will use it, even when I don’t see the results.
We live in a world based on effort and results. If we work hard and do the right things and say the right words, we will see all the fruits of our labors. Advertisements change all the time based on results. Products work harder to become “new and improved” in hopes that more people will buy that product. Things are falling off the market everyday because people are simply not buying. Companies close their doors when there are no results. But that is not how the gospel works. We don’t improve the gospel; it is already perfect. We don’t change the message of God, because to do so would warp the truth. And we are not supposed to stop sharing the gospel when there are no results, because we are promised that there will be results, no matter how far down the road, and we are called to share the gospel no matter what.
That’s not to say that Glowing Heart didn’t see results this past weekend at the Community Worship Center in Perryton. In fact, over a dozen students came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ! But that was only after possibly years of hearing the gospel and multiple efforts by many faithful Christians who may never know that they had a part in their salvation story.
I encourage you to continue sharing the gospel. Never give up, never lose hope! Our God is faithful to save, so we should be faithful to share.