“What pain to find your life-work to be a lot of wood, and hay, and stubble that will blaze furiously, and die out in ashes! You know what I mean: so much time spent in planning frivolous amusements for the people, so much talent expended in teaching that which is not the gospel, so much zeal consumed upon matters that do not concern eternal things, all this will burn. Beloved, do your Master’s work, win souls, preach Christ, expound your Bibles, pray men to be reconciled to God, plead with men to come to Christ. This kind of work will withstand the fire; and when the last great day shall dawn, this will remain to glory and honor!” —C.H. Spurgeon
“It’s all gonna burn” my pastor used to say. Not just houses, cars, money, possessions, politics or physiques—but ambitions, wants, lusts and goals both pursued and achieved. Even an atheist would agree. But God guarantees that some things last forever—human souls, His Word and the reward for being about His business while we’re here. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us,” Gandalf told Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. Frodo decided to save the world.
You have a day ahead of you—invest wisely.
“As the sun is not blown out by the tempest, nor the moon quenched by the dew of night, so is not the gospel destroyed by the sophistries of perverse minds. Wherefore let us comfort one another with these words: “The word of God is not bound.” It will be preached till doomsday.” —C.H. Spurgeon
There are plenty of subjects to preach to our world, but only one can save and will survive the test of eternity. All else is ashes.
Fear not, and preach.
” ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.’* It would be scripturally false to leave out the second phrase, ‘and to enjoy Him forever.’ The men who formulated this showed great wisdom and insight is saying, ‘and to enjoy Him forever.’ Nevertheless, the first phrase is the first phrase: ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God.’ And in Christianity we have a non-determined God who did not need to create because there was love and communication within the Trinity, and yet having been created, we as men can glorify God. If we fail to emphasize that we can glorify God, we raise the question of whether men are significant at all. We begin to lose our humanity as soon as we begin to lose the emphasis that what we do makes a difference. We can glorify God, and both the Old and New Testament say that we can even make God sad. That is tremendous.” —Francis Schaeffer
Now you know why you’re here. Be significant.
*The Westminster Shorter Catechism
“The early church didn’t have a Graham, a Finney, or a Moody. It didn’t have Promise Keepers, a Great Awakening, or user-friendly churches. Furthermore, it had no concise spiritual laws to share, no explosive method for talking to the unconverted. What it had seems quite paltry: it had unspectacular people with a hodgepodge of methods, so hodgepodge that they can hardly be called methods, and rarely a gathering of more than a handful of people. The paltry seems to have been enough, however, to make an emperor or two stop and take notice…nameless Christians [who brought] the name of Jesus Christ to the attention of pagans—not a phenomenon that filled stadiums; just enough to begin converting the whole known world.” —Mark Galli
Paltry indeed, but like the mosquito in the room, impossible to ignore. And like this paltry who simply lived Christ so long before us, we live, too. They stood, and we now stand; they led; now we lead. To the world, they had no names, but we remember them,—and we can’t think of them without thinking of Him. And that’s the whole idea. We’re the next mosquito in the room.
The world will definitely notice.
“I don’t need a successor, only willing hands to accept the torch for a new generation. I am just one of many thousands called to be an evangelist.” —Billy Graham
Man of God, man of integrity, counselor to presidents, preacher to peasants, evangelist, prophet, servant of Jesus. He will be missed.
Now it’s your turn.
“THERE EXIST BEINGS WHO…spend more money, waste more time, take more trouble, than would be required for ten good actions, and that gratuitously, for their own pleasure, without receiving any other payment for their curiosity than curiosity…Why? For no reason. A pure passion for seeing, knowing and penetrating into things. A pure itch for talking. And often these secrets once known, these mysteries made public, these enigmas illuminated by the light of day bring on catastrophes, duels, failures, the ruin of families and broken lives, to the great joy of those who have “found out everything,” without any interest in the matter, and by pure instinct. A sad thing. Certain persons are malicious solely through a necessity for talking. Their conversation, the chat of the drawing-room, gossip of the anteroom, is like those chimneys which consume wood rapidly; they need a great amount of combustibles; and their combustibles are furnished by their neighbors.” —Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
The world feasts on fireworks served daily by those who love to watch the world burn—a blue-plate special of flaming bad news and gossip full of all kinds of artificial ingredients.
When will it end?
Jesus is coming.
What can I do?
Bring a heaping course of truth to the table—it’s full of all the Good stuff—hope, life, salvation, Jesus. Show it, tell it, live believably.
Though many have lost their taste for truth, it’s still the main course—and we’re still the waiters.
A.W. Tozer’s opening line caught me off guard. When the shock wore off, it began to make sense…
“Make sure that you don’t substitute prayer for obedience. Prayer is the oxygen of Christianity, but if we pray without preaching the gospel as we have been commanded to, we are drawing near to God with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him. Make sure you put legs to your prayers and reach out to those who are going to Hell.”
It seems that Bono of U2 agreed…
“Christians who prize “politeness” over candor may end up living a trivialized life. You’ve gotta be very careful that grace and politeness do not merge into a banality of behavior where we’re just nice—sort of ‘death by cupcake.’”
Pray to proclaim.
Three apprentice devils were preparing to come to the earth to finish their apprenticeship. They first spent time talking to Satan about their plans to tempt and ruin men.
The first devil declared “I will tell men that there is no God”
Satan said to him, “That will not delude many, for they know there is a God”
The second devil boasted “I will tell men that there is no hell!”
Satan answered the second, “You will deceive no one that way. Men know even now that there is a hell for sin.”
The third devil thought for a moment, then said, “I will tell men that there is no hurry…”
Satan excitedly told the third “Go! and you will ruin men by the thousands!” (Adapted from William Barclay)
People are dying; Jesus is coming; Christians have eternity; the world doesn’t.
Give ’em heaven, while they still have time.
Jesus is coming back—His followers know it and most are thrilled at the immanent possibility. My friend Don Stewart, however, reminds us to be careful about one important detail…
“Do not make the mistake of replacing the Gospel with talk of the end times events—our main message isn’t the second coming of Christ, but the first.”
True story? No clue. Good story? Definitely…
Several years ago a preacher moved to Christchurch, New Zealand. Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the bus from his home into the city. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a dollar too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, “You better give the dollar back. It would be wrong to keep it.” Then he thought, “Oh, forget it, it’s only a dollar. Who would worry about this amount? Anyway the bus company already gets enough; they will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from God and keep quiet.” When his stop came, he paused at the door, then he handed the dollar to the driver and said, “Here, you gave me too much change.” The driver with a smile, replied, “Aren’t you the new preacher just arrived in the city? I have been thinking lately about going to worship somewhere. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change.” When he stepped off the bus, he grabbed the nearest power pole, held on and said, “Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a dollar.” Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read. —Author Unknown
As Jesus’ followers, what we do says who He is; what we say becomes His voice. Be kind and love. You just never know…