A Calling Both Grand And Grave
By Lois J. Stucky
Jesus was speaking with His disciples about the days when He would return in the clouds with great power and glory when He told them that "…the Gospel must first be published among all nations" (Mark 13:10). What incentive that should give to us, His people, to devote ourselves to the spreading of the Gospel! "Surely I come quickly: Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:20).
We are all aware of how modern means of communication and transportation are making it possible for the Gospel to encircle the globe farther and faster than ever before. Surely this is grand and significant, and it is right that we support as fully as possible those heavily involved in the spread of the Gospel through any legitimate means. Do we also consider what a grave and vital matter is the spreading of the Gospel among all nations? Consider how God loved the world and provided eternal life through giving heaven’s best at an unfathomable price (John 3:16). How involved is His heart in the Gospel going into all the world! Recall how Jesus commanded us to go with these glorious tidings and preach to the entire world (Matt. 28:19). If He is our Lord and Master, this is our call to obey.
Think of the Gospel being the determining factor in the eternal destiny of earth’s inhabitants, a number that is increasing daily, currently over seven billion. Consider that many of these are in nations that have been enshrouded in dense spiritual darkness for centuries. "No man cared for my soul" (Psa. 142:4), they will one day mournfully cry. Furthermore, it is a case of the multitudes not only hearing the Gospel, but they must individually understand it, believe it and live it. "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). A worthy and consuming task – grand and grave – faces the church today!
Thank God for all who have responded to His leading to serve on the frontlines of the Gospel advance or who gladly serve in some way to maintain an outflow of the Gospel far and wide! We honor those who heroically lay down their lives for the sake of bearing witness for their beloved Lord and Master, often almost unknown and unsung except for the all-seeing One who receives them to glory. God does not call us all to serve Him in the above ways, but we are all greatly needed to take part to fulfill His grand and gracious purposes through prayer!
On that last, critical night when Jesus agonized in prayer in Gethsemane, He pled in vain with His sleepy disciples to watch with Him in prayer. Their natural weakness and subsequent failure was expressed in words fit for that occasion and applicable to us as well: "…the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:41). That weakness plus satanic interference too often results in our prayer failures.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is quoted as saying, "Everything we do in the Christian life is easier than prayer." Not all may agree with that, but we can likely agree that to take time to fervently, faithfully pray for the spreading of the Gospel demands strong effort. Oh, how we need the Holy Spirit’s help to pray in this manner! (Rom. 8:26-27). The following excerpt from an article – author unknown – encourages us to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in prayer: "The Holy Spirit gives physical strength to pray; controls wandering thoughts and wards off sleepiness; stimulates the heart to fervency and earnestness; reveals sins and shortcomings in the believer’s life which ought to be confessed and corrected; makes distracting noises less disturbing; and brings to mind passages of Scripture, such as promises and precepts which help the believer in his praying."
God is faithful to provide such victorious help if we seek it! But first of all we need to set ourselves to pray. Here is where many of us fail. Do we sufficiently love our Lord and perishing souls to be motivated to set aside time to pray, especially if there are pleasures or cares of this world pressing us? Do we keep "eternity’s values in view" so that we turn from the appealing but passing things of this world to pray for that which is enduring? Do we deny self of legitimate pleasures for the sake of obeying the Lord in order to share His heart burden for the souls whom He would save if we offer prayer?
Dear Friends, will you join me in confessing to the Lord our failures in prayer and in seeking earnestly more love to Him and to souls, and more help of the Holy Spirit in prayer? Let us together ask for a blessed and plentiful outpouring of a spirit of prayer upon ourselves and upon the church worldwide! Who could foretell the glorious results that would follow? Oh, how greatly it would count for Eternity!