Over the last several weeks I have preached a serious of lessons entitled, “How to Evangelize in a Rebellious Society.” My intention was not to give the impression that they world was too far gone. I often likened it to the people of Ezekiel’s day. If you know your history, you would know that is the same crowd that Jeremiah spoke to. That is the same generation that God told Jeremiah to not even pray for. When Jeremiah did, God rebuked him (Jer. 7:16). The comparison I was trying to make was not about the complete lostness of our modern society, but about the nature of God’s messengers, the word need preached and the urgency we must have in taking that message to the lost. This past week, I was reminded of why this world is not completely without hope. I have gained quite the following of friends as a result of my time spent at the fitness center. I had a rather painful fall as I rolled over the top of my right ankle. The floor was rather wet from sweat and I stepped just wrong on the wrong spot and down I went. Enough people saw the spill that many jumped over to make sure I was right. Even after two trainers that were in the room stopped by to check on me I still had several more people come over and check. Some knew me personally, others didn’t know me at all (and most I didn’t even know their first names). When I finally had the ability (and courage) to put weight back on my ankle I couldn’t help but to be thankful for those that came to my aid. Each morning in my home, after bible study, we as a family talk about what we are thankful for. That morning I said I was thankful that the world is not completely godless. In Gen. 6 we read about a world whose only thought on their hearts was only evil always. I could not imagine living in that world. Had I fallen in that world, I would have had someone bring me some ice. My needs would have been ignored. I wouldn’t have had those working out around me stopping to check on me. Instead, they would have kicked me (it was kicking boxing class) for being in their way or used me as the bag. In fact, as I write these words, images of the nature channel immediately come to mind. When you see wolves or coyotes attacking the injured member of the pack it is a frightening scene. The pack is incapable of showing sympathy. It has no use for the weaker members of their “society.” This was the world Noah lived in. This was the world that Noah preached it. It wouldn’t listen. It was an animalistic society that gave in to its animalistic passions. Praise God we don’t live in that world. Praise God that some by product of his goodness, mercy, loving-kindness, etc has rubbed off on my kind. But, what does this mean? Why should it matter than some stranger showed a moment of kindness? Because it means that this world has hope. No, I am not saying that God will save all who just show some form of decent human kindness. No, I am not saying that God will save all “good” people. What I am saying is that if the world has some good in it, it can still have enough goodness in it to grow. I see that faith of a mustard seed all around me. I see all kinds of people with a little faith. It is evidenced in how they care for their children. It is evidenced in their kindness towards strangers. It is evidenced in their willingness to treat preachers with common decency. It is there. It becomes our job to nurture that faith so that it might grow. Think of building faith like building a fire. A tiny spark has potential. It has the potential to grow into a massive forest fire. It also has the potential to be snuffed out. When starting a fire, you want to protect that flame. You cuddle it. You don’t thrown in the big logs. Rather you keep it with leaves, twigs, dried papers, etc. Things that are easy to consume. You try to keep the wind out lest it gets blown out. As it grows you then can add the larger branches and eventually logs. Those with a little faith need nurturing. I think this is something tat we have lost sight of. It is as if we expect everyone to see the scriptures through the eyes of a seasoned apostle. Such evangelistic efforts will undoubtedly end up in failure. The days of lengthy debates, long lectures have come and gone. Today, especially among Millennials, you need information given to them quickly. (This is why twitter has taken off). While I realize that isn’t conducive to meatier matters of the Law, the reality is they aren’t ready for it anyways. Stop trying to throw logs on to the fire. Start throwing some kindling on the flames of their faith and you might seem some growth. Sure, nothing could still happen (they have been potential for growth and the potential to be snuffed out). But, whatever happens, let it not be because we weren’t willing to change how we give them the message. there is hope. It is not completely lost. It just needs some messengers willing to treat them as they really are… those of a little faith.
Grinnell church of Christ
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