Friday, October 9, 2015

Time for a Change

Lately, as I have traveled and observed people's approach to mission, I thought more and more about our commission and the way we fulfil it. Let's face the facts: we have been here on earth for so long. We have been given the mission to spread the Gospel. And we say that we do it. But our efforts are meagre and powerless. How do I know it? I know it because there are still so many people who have not heard of the Gospel. I know it because we are still here on earth.

Just recently, a friend of mine was telling me that someone went interviewing young people close to Berlin, Germany. He asked the young people if they know what Jesus did for them. And some of these young people did not even know who Jesus was. They thought that he might be a politician. This is Germany, the birth place of Reformation!

We keep doing the same things. We see that we do not have success, but we still we hope for better results. Wasn't Albert Einstein right when he said: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"? Yes, you got it right. I think that this quote is talking about us and our approach to evangelism.

We talk about the Jesus' method, but how many are really applying it? I am not saying that there is no one doing it. There are here and there some who have understood what Christ's method is. But we need more of those.

In Gospel Workers, p. 43 we are told that "during His ministry, Jesus devoted more time to healing the sick than to preaching." And yet, how many of us are doing this in our evangelistic approaches? We love to talk. We love to preach. But this is not what the people needs. People need more than our words. They need divine healing. They need mental, spiritual and physical healing.

I read this quote in my morning devotion today, and I was impressed with the approach of John the Baptist. It presents John the Baptist in a different light. We usually think of him as a stern guy who spent time like a monk in the wilderness and who only knew to admonish people and point their sins. Here is a new picture of him:

"From time to time he [John] went forth to mingle with men; and he was ever an interested observer of what was passing in the world. From his quiet retreat he watched the unfolding of events. With vision illuminated by the Divine Spirit he studied the character of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven. The burden of his mission was upon him. In solitude, by meditation and prayer, he sought to gird up his soul for the life-work before him." GW 57

What was the result of his preparation? We are told that "multitudes flocked to the wilderness". GW 54

I find in this passage three things needed to be done in preparation for a successful mission.
1. A vision illuminated by the Divine Spirit,
2. Studying people's characters to know how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven,
3. Spending time in meditation and prayer.

We need to study people's characters because we need to find them where they are. Because we need to offer them what they need. Because people are tired of words, they need deeds. Because people are different. Because different people need different approaches. Because people need healing, be it spiritual, emotional or physical. Because it is all about people, not about us and what we think they need. But we can do this only when we have spent time with Jesus in Bible study and prayer, only when we have been filled with the Spirit.

I believe it is time we ask ourselves: Are we doing the same thing and still expecting different results? Are we trying to work without the Holy Spirit? Are we preaching more than healing?

It is time we change something if we want to go home soon!

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