I’m still in New Jersey this evening, returning home on Wednesday. The purpose of my visit here is to facilitate an off-site meeting with the staff of one of my clients – and it’s over now – I just got back from dinner and am sitting down to write while I listen to the State of the Union.
My mind is buzzing with thoughts about the events of today. To start with, the main theme in today’s meeting had to do with achievement; meeting the goal, achieving the result – and not necessarily focusing on a specific way to do things every time. We have to allow for differences between us. Some of us learn through example, some through mentoring, some through visual education and a variety of other ways we become better able to accomplish the things we have set out to do. It’s the same with our employees. They don’t all learn the same way; and that led us today to a series of exercises that demonstrated the differences between us.
The same is true with the people we run across in our daily lives. After all, you don’t speak to all your friends exactly the same way. Or you don’t treat your co-workers all the same. That’s because we analyze each situation and try to figure out what steps will need to be taken to accomplish our mission. But when we get stuck in a repetitious pattern and lose site of the goal in favor of making sure that we standardize the process, we lose our individuality. While this standardization may work well in building automobiles on an assembly line, it doesn’t work so well when we think about our relationships with our fellow man.
Christ was the same way. He appealed to people in ways that best met where they were in their personal journey. He always met them where they were, without hesitating to alter His method, or process, if He thought the result He was looking for could be achieved. And what was His objective? To do the will of the Father and bring as many people as possible into the Kingdom of God.
Now that brings up an interesting point – that we have a mandate to do everything we can to spread the Good News; and also be committed to making sure that people have the opportunity to accept the free offer of eternal life. And, just like the example above about the way we deal with our friends and our employees, the process we follow is not nearly as important as the outcome we hope to achieve.
Truth be known, whether people accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior is not up to any of us. That’s because the Bible is very clear that every person will have the chance to make a salvation decision, but it is due to the work of the Holy Spirit. While we may be the agents of letting people know about Jesus Christ and the free gift that awaits each of us, it is only when God, through the Holy Spirit, softens the hearts of people so they become open to the words that we are prompted to speak to them.
I can’t tell you how many ministries and websites brag about how many people they have “brought to Christ” or “saved.” Well, you know what? I’ve never saved anybody…… and neither has any ministry or pastor. Christ saves – period. We may be part of the journey for these people whose hearts are softened and are willing to hear the story of Christ, but many times, we will never know the part we play in their conversion experience.
I have to tell you that sometimes I wish that I had more direct knowledge about people that eventually “got saved” after I had some interaction with them, as it would be quite an encouragement, but in the scheme of things, it’s really not that important. It’s more of a weakness on my part. We are told that sometimes we “sow” and sometimes we “reap,” but in every instance, it should be God who gets the credit.
The verse tonight is from Jesus Himself. In John 10:28, we are told, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” I guess that settles the question as to whether we ever have, or every will, “save” anybody. The answer is a resounding “NO.”
My encouragement this evening is that you will focus on the result, and not some standardized process to help people get into the Kingdom of God. Christ can work with anything you do to assist the process – and it’s never the same two times in a row. My prayer is that your work will be fruitful and that the Lord blesses your effort. Because eternal life is the greatest gift that any of us can receive; and it is an honor to be included in the celebration that occurs in heaven whenever someone makes the choice for an eternity with God. Have a great day in the Lord….