Passage for Study: Acts 14: 1 - 20 … Linked for your study …
My Journal for Today: As we read in this Acts 14 passage as well as other accounts in the mission/ministry of the Paul, the converted Apostle didn’t experience missionary success everywhere he went. Certainly in this account, Paul was stoned and left for death because of his preaching. Rejection was often his close companion.
Swindoll also recounts the life of a dedicated missionary, James Gilmore, who is quoted by Pastor Chuck after years of missionary work to tribal peoples of Mongolia to have no converts. He came to Mongolia with great hope and enthusiasm; but by all worldly standards of ministry (i.e., the number of converts), after YEARS, there were none. And Swindoll uses the Acts 14 account, as well as the story about Brother Gilmore, to illustrate that missionary or ministry work should not be for the faint of heart.
When a couple of days ago I wrote, “God’s calling is God’s enablement,” I wasn’t saying that God will call you to the mission field or into a personal ministry and then make your success the head-count of souls or the numbers of people who flock into your ministry. Head counts are often the world’s way of measuring the success of His calling. When Pastors gather, one of the oft asked questions is “How big is your church?” But those sorts of data gathering methods are man’s way of seeing success … NOT GOD’S.
Take it from someone who, about 15 years ago, was called to found and build a ministry to help Christians walk free from habitual sexual sin. And at that time – as it is now – the field of ministry was “white unto harvest.” With over 50% of Christian men and over 25% of Full-time Ministers deeply hooked on porn, damaging their ability to be a husband or a father, or to have any power in personal ministry, I thought God would see hundreds, if not thousands, of men convicted and redirected to fruitfulness as Christians by coming into and through BattlePlan Ministries. >>> Well, after those 15+ years, there have been a number whose lives have been brought from sexual addiction to an abiding and productive relationship with Christ. However, the ministry of Satan in this area seems to be growing so, so much faster than the lives which Battle Plan Ministry touches – or all the ministries like ours in the country for that matter. Sometimes, I feel like God has led me to the task of trying to empty an ocean with a tea spoon.
But I’m not called to save the world. That’s God’s job. I’m not called to convict and redirect the lives of all sinners. I’m just called to be available, vulnerable, accountable, and ready to serve any Christian who comes to Battle Plan Ministry for help. And if I get discouraged or disheartened by encountering and being turned back by Satan’s super-weapons of sexual warfare, I would become no use to God in going up against Satan’s best or the world’s warfare.
My friend, … if you have a calling from God, the task may seem overwhelming. But rather than becoming discouraged by numbers or the lack of same, be like Abraham or Moses or Gideon or Nehemiah and just go, following God’s calling to do God’s work. Go with God and for God; and let God be God, remembering (and here it comes again), YOU ARE NOT! God is the One Who produces the “head count.” We do what we’re called to do, doing, to the best of our ability, what HE has called us to do, … no more, … no less. And we, who are called, if we are truly doing all we can do, must accept the harvest to be God’s.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me not to be into counting; but rather into commitment. Amen