I’m a cynic, or at least I tend towards cynicism. This weekend, our association hosted a mission team from International Commission. They are currently unable to have many international mission trips because of Covid restrictions, and they decided to try their approach in North America. We were the first association in our country to host a team.
The project was announced in March. We have an IC coordinator in our association, and he presented the project at our annual meeting. The cynicism was strong in this pastor. I made statements (not out loud mind you) such as “door to door witnessing won’t work here,” and “even if someone accepts Christ during this project, it’s probably not genuine”. I did not lead our church to participate. That was a big mistake.
Three weeks ago, we had 11 people in our worship service on Sunday morning. We usually average between 25 and 30, but that morning there were only 11, and seven of them were Joneses. It was a sledgehammer blow to my spirit, and I realized if one other family had not shown up that morning, we would have had one person plus my family in attendance. That Sunday morning was an attention-getter.
The next day, during my prayer time, God quietly asked me the following questions: why would refuse the help of people who have spent their own money, time, and energy to come help you share the gospel? Why would you think that I can’t use the witness of others to draw sinners to myself in your community? The answer: I’m a foolish, proud cynic.
I’m not the only cynic. Our pews and pulpits are full of them. It’s been so long since we’ve seen the miraculous power of God that we brazenly tell God “The power of Your gospel won’t work in my town.” We’ve forgotten wheat Jesus told His disciples in Acts 1:8, “But you WILL receive power when The Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you WILL be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world.” We’ve forgotten what Paul declared in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s POWER for salvation to everyone.”
Thankfully, God, in His mercy, allowed my church to participate in this weekend’s IC project, and wouldn’t you know, we had seven new kids, representing four new family groups at AWANAs Sunday night. We also got to meet 3 of their parents.
The IC team held their closing service last night at my church. There were testimonies of salvations, rededications, and gospel seeds planted. I was tempted to be cynical. I was tempted to think that those reported salvations are not going to take root and grow, but in my temptation, I learned the path out of cynicism is prayer. Instead of scoffing, I prayed “Lord, make that seed take root. Prepare the local church to water and nurture those new believers who have made a profession of faith.”
The IC team reported over 100 professions of faith. Will all of those professions become mature Christians? God certainly has the power to make that happen.
Do you tend to be cynical? We can all wander into an attitude of cynicism, but we cannot wander out. We must choose to pray and remember the power of the gospel.
And for goodness sake, when a group of people wants to come witness alongside you in your community, please do not tell them no.