A majority of people in our American church culture cannot relate to my testimony. I wasn’t raised in the church. I didn’t take my parents’ faith and “make it my own.” I didn’t attend bible studies, youth group, or Hume Lake summer camps. I placed my faith in Jesus Christ just over two-and-a-half years ago. My Paul-like experience of our Savior has transformed me from a misguided, angry, abusive atheist into a humble evangelist with a zeal for making much of the Messiah that has made the most of me.
I desire passionately to reach everyone and anyone I can with the Gospel that has set me free (Psalm 118:5, John 8:36). In the past, this has led to an imbalance between evangelism and discipleship. I found myself sacrificing time with potential disciples in order to meet as many people as I could in hopes of sharing the gift I have been given, but leaving no room for actual relationship. Worst of all, I would idolize meeting new people and evangelizing at the expense of my personal growth, cutting short quiet times of prayer to attend another college group meeting.
Over the last year and a half of ministry I have discovered an important truth: I am limited, but my pride tells me I need to be unlimited. I cannot save the world from their sins, but my pride tells me I can. With only a daily drip of a deep relationship with Christ, the consistent outpour of gallons of faith to those around me left me dry and burnt out.
I needed to be more like Jesus.
Jesus Focused His Ministry
(Luke 6:12-16, Matthew 17:1-2) There is absolutely nothing wrong with prioritizing your time for the advancement of the Gospel. From the thousands of followers in His company, Jesus chose 12 leaders to whom He would reveal deeper truth and give greater power. From those 12, Jesus chose only Peter, James and John to witness the Transfiguration. Jesus did not neglect the masses, yet He saw the greater mission.
There needed to be specific leaders for the mission to come, especially in the early Church. In our day, God raises up specific leader-types to encourage the Church, lead movements of the Gospel, and push others into a deeper faith.
With only a daily drip of a deep relationship with Christ, the consistent outpour of gallons of faith to those around me left me dry and burnt out.
I wish I could personally commit an hour a week to disciple every new freshman male who had a relationship with Jesus Christ. Instead, I intend to leave behind half a dozen faithful men, hungry for disciples, to continue the mission of Christ at Fresno State in the coming years. The fruit of this ministry, long after I am gone, will be far greater than anything I could muster with my own limited ability.
Who in your life is uniquely gifted in leadership that you can faithfully equip to lead others in the future? Where are you stretched thin, trying to reach too many people, that you need to pull back in order to have better quality relationships? Witness to many, but invest in a few.
(Luke 5:16) It almost seems like I missed this part of Luke during my first few read-throughs. Jesus rested? Jesus left the masses, with their own sicknesses and spiritual needs, in order to grow in faith and power?
As followers of our Lord Jesus Christ in the modern-day, we need to learn a very important lesson. We are far too busy for our own good. A passage in Micah comes to mind, bringing to focus mankind’s consistent desire to “do more” and “be better,” when truly all that God requires is a humble, loving, honest heart that is completely His (Micah 6:6-8). We mustn’t belong to our bible study, our memorization of Scripture, or even our ability to share our faith. We must belong to God alone.
Witness to many, but invest in a few.
When was the last time you said “no” to an opportunity, despite its good intentions, in order to spend more time with God? If you can’t answer that question, then you are probably too busy to notice how busy you are. Take a weekend off and spend it with God. Wake up an hour earlier for prayer, or head home an hour earlier for some extra time with the Lord before you sleep.
Service to the Church and the mission of the Gospel is required, but relationship with God is priority.
We must understand that we are limited. We cannot spend every second of every day reaching every person and expect to have much depth in relationship or faith. Jesus Christ has been using limited people for over 2,000 years to save people. It is time to put aside our prideful desire to run the Church without a relationship with its Founder.
“Return, O my soul, to your rest; For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.” (Psalm 116:7)
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