“Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” – Luke 10:2
“So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” – Romans 1:15-16
“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ…” – Colossians 4:2-3a
Scripture Reading: Romans 1:1-17
Every day I become a little more aware of how rarely I get things right. Case in point, I host a ladies Bible study in my home. Sounds great, right? Honestly, it is. It’s a sweet group that prays for each other and feeds each other well. But let me tell you, I waffled on that heavenly assignment for more than two years. I came up with every excuse from the condition of my house to the craziness of my schedule to put it off – only to regret not having started sooner.
And recently, I had the opportunity to invite a friend to church. I debated in my mind, second-guessed the impulse (which I now know was the Holy Spirit) and almost missed the opportunity to see someone change their eternal destiny and destination.
When it came to the gospel, the Apostle Paul never second-guessed an impulse. Driven by deep self-awareness of his own unworthiness (I Timothy 1:15) and even deeper awareness of the worthiness of Christ (Romans 11:33, Ephesians 1:18), Paul was obsessed with the saving of lost souls. In Romans 1, he writes to a church he didn’t even start, because he longs to battle alongside them for the cause of Christ.
In Verse 8, he commends the church at Rome for their bold reputation of faith – even in the depraved capital of an evil, idolatrous empire. And being a bit on the bold side himself, Paul declares two of the predominant statements of his life, “I am ready” (Verse 15, Acts 20:7, 21:13, II Corinthians 12:13, I Timothy 6:18, II Timothy 4:6, Titus ), and “I am not ashamed” (Verse 16, Isaiah 50:7, Philippians 1:20, II Timothy 1:12, Hebrews 2:10-11, 11:16).
Oh, the powerful punch that those lines pack. Because, while Paul and the Roman Christians were clearly fighting in the trenches, many Christians today are watching the world from the benches (Matthew 9:36-38, Philippians 2:15-16, Jude 1:22-24). Too often, we (and by “we”, I mean “me”) are the antithesis of Paul, ashamed of the gospel (to our own shame) and unready and unwilling to give it – full of excuses, rather than being filled with the Spirit. We want to be the “nice” people in the neighborhood, without being the “crazy” people who talk about Jesus all the time. We worry more about the offense than the urgency of the gospel (Mark 16:15, I Timothy 2:3-4, I Peter 2:7-8). And instead of being the onward-moving Christian soldiers that God has called us to be, we settle for the comfy bench on the sidelines.
Can I tell you Satan lovingly tends that bench? He keeps it nice and shiny and warm, and he’s always willing to make room for more, because that bench is the couch of complacency, the seat of self-preservation, and the final resting place of revival. Satan delights in Christians who refuse to engage in the war for souls, and he’s lulled many a saint to sleep with the comfort that they’re on the right team and that’s all that matters (Ephesians 5:14-17, Colossians 4:5-6).
Don’t settle for a seat on the bench, or even in the pew, for that matter. And don’t let the endless, and often pointless, battles of this world blind you to the all-important battle of winning souls to Christ. There is slumber and softness and safety on the benches, but there is Holy-Ghost adrenaline, true purpose, eternal reward, and the chance to see miracles unfold in the trenches. It is the workplace of the “good and faithful” servants. Not a moment is wasted there, not a moment goes unseen or unrecorded by heaven, and angels rejoice over every soul rescued on those sacred battlegrounds (Luke 15:7, 10, 31-32).
Today, I have a prayer list a mile long and opportunities a mile wide, and I want to be like Paul, unashamed and ready and relentless in the good fight of faith.Too many days, I’ve warmed the bench and wasted my chances, and I shudder to think that some soul might have paid an eternal price.
God, forgive me. Give me a soul to win for you, and today and every day, point me to the trenches.
Is there someone the Lord has laid on your heart who needs Him? Ask God to make you bold, unashamed, and ready to serve Him in the trenches.
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