Apologetics? Sure, But First Comes Compassion. Published August 14, 2020 at 7:01pm
Billy Graham said, "The evangelistic harvest is always urgent. The destiny of men and of nations is always being decided. Every generation is strategic. We are not responsible for the past generation, and we cannot bear full responsibility for the next one; but we do have our generation. God will hold us responsible as to how well we fulfill our responsibilities to this age and take advantage of our opportunities."
Each of us has our sphere of influence, our circle of friends, our neighbors, our coworkers. And Christians have a commission, given to us by God, to go and preach the gospel to them (see Matthew 28:19–20).
The problem is this: The harvest is great, but the laborers are few. Instead of being out in the field, many times the laborers are asleep. The Bible says that "he who gathers in summer is a wise son; he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame" (Proverbs 10:5 NKJV).
Of course, this certainly applies to harvesting crops and working hard. But I think that in principle, we can apply this proverb to harvesting souls as well.
I don't know about you, but there are two times each day when I get sleepy. One is at bedtime, and the other is after a meal, usually lunch. In the same way, maybe one reason we're sleeping at harvest time is because we're so well-fed.
Sometimes those who are the best fed spiritually are actually the laziest. We're focused on the next message, the next Bible study. We're always taking in, but we think very little of giving out. And if we continue to live that way, we're running the risk of becoming spiritually obese.
The apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, "And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed" (Romans 13:11 NKJV).
What is the time Paul was alluding to? It's the time prior to the return of Jesus Christ. Paul recognized the imminence of Christ's return. That is why we need to wake up. Jesus said, "We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work" (John 9:4 NLT).
God's heart aches for nonbelievers. He cares about them desperately. We see that reflected in Luke's gospel as Jesus charged 70 people to go and prepare the way for his arrival. This was a crucial time in his ministry when his reaching out in Galilee had basically come to an end. He was beginning his long and difficult journey to Jerusalem, where he would be crucified outside the walls of the city for the sins of the world.
As Jesus was coming into Jerusalem, he appointed 70 people to prepare the way for him, and he gave them a special commission.
He said to them, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest" (Luke 10:2 NKJV).
Matthew's gospel adds one other detail: "But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them" (Matthew 9:26 NKJV).
This was the heart of Jesus for people. He cared about them. In spite of the busyness of his schedule, he always took time for individuals.
For instance, he took time for the woman with medical problems who spent all of her money on doctors. She thought that if she could just touch the hem of his garment that she would be healed – and she was. So Jesus stopped what he was doing and commended her.
Then there was Jairus with his very ill daughter who eventually died and then was resurrected by our Lord. Jesus went out of his way to go and see this little girl.
Also, Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, seeking answers to his spiritual questions. I'm sure that Jesus had experienced a long and draining day. Yet he took time for this religious leader. Jesus always cared about people, and our lives should reflect the same concern.
I could share some principles here that would be helpful as you seek to bring the gospel to others, but it has to start with compassion and concern for lost people. All the teaching on evangelism or how to answer difficult questions will be of no effect if you don't care about lost people.
However, only God can place this burden on your heart. And it will make all the difference in how effective you'll be in sharing the gospel. You may lack the ability to communicate well, but if you have a heart of compassion for people and reach out to them, that will go a long way.
Are you being an instrument God can use to touch those who do not yet know Christ?
God wants to use you. There are doors open today that won't necessarily stay that way. There are opportunities that must be seized, or they'll be lost.
Maybe you're saying, "Greg I don't feel that God could ever work through a person like me. I'm not adequate. I'm not gifted."
If you will see your own weakness and inadequacy and come to God with complete dependence on him, you'll be amazed at what he will accomplish. God can do a lot with a little. You can never be too small for God to use; only too big.