Have you become discouraged in evangelism? Have your eyes grown weary from looking for fruit? Are you wondering if the problem is more with you than them?
Let me tell you a true story.
Nearly 20 years ago, I was an unbelieving, angry guy. I hadn’t previously been exposed to “Bible-thumping” guys but, now that I was, I utterly despised them. I hated their smiles, humility, hopefulness, charity and confidence. Oh, how I hated their confidence. I would mock, insult and try to get them to “sin” or blush. They just kept on like they understood me better than I understood myself.
I didn’t listen to them. I don’t even think I ever really heard them—but, they got to me. They were different. I knew it and so did they.
In due time, God graciously pressed himself upon me by convicting of sin, righteousness and judgment to come. Where did I go? To whom did I turn?
I went to one of these Bible guys. Now, my tone was different and my questions sincere. I was lost, and I knew it. And so did he. Like a toddler’s shoelace, I was in knots. In due time, I unwrapped the burdens of my heart. The evangelist maintained his patented smiling, humble, charitable tone. Seeing the opening, he seized upon me. He lovingly opened his Bible and showed me Christ. In short order, I was converted to Christ.
Consider the multiple layers of how God brought this conversion. He convicts of sin, uses evangelists, provides persecution, provides opportunities for faithfulness, and then gives the Christian a chance to be a spiritual mid-wife and deliver the new baby. There are so many more things going on here than we can see with a naked eye. For example, what would have happened if my friend was reading the intel on the ground and concluded, “This guy is hopeless. He is not going to leave me alone unless I tame it down”?
In our Christian lives, and in evangelism in particular, our job is to be faithful. This faithfulness corresponds with how we represent Christ. Our faithfulness does not depend upon the amount of God’s apparent blessing of what we are doing. In other words, if people are not getting converted it does not mean that we tame it down. It is true that we have no idea what God is doing in the small things, but we do know what he is ultimately doing: God is doing all things for his glory. And we know how he does it: He does it through means, even the faithfulness of his people.
If you are discouraged, and even weary in the work of evangelism, then consider this true story. And then, remember this: God uses the faithfulness of his people to glorify his name.
In one sense, you have no idea what God is doing. And in another sense, you know exactly what he is doing. Therefore, trust him and keep being faithful.