This afternoon, our ministerial intern and I returned from an afternoon of soul-winning praising the Lord that He used us to lead a soul to Himself. The new convert is a woman who has been carrying a lot of guilt for a long time. Her life started out well in law school, but through a series of bad decisions she ended up having two abortions, and now in her fifties, she is addicted to alcohol to try to drown the sorrows of her past. She participated in virtually every Roman Catholic sacrament, but still felt empty inside. She was living proof that the way of the transgressor is hard (Proverbs 13:15).
God, however, opened her heart today, and she attended unto the words of the Bible. She believed that she was going to heaven because she was not guilty of any crime, loved animals, and voted consistently green. But deep down, she knew her justifications were ringing hollow. She was very cognizant that she was thirsty, but had no idea that Jesus could assuage her parched soul.
As she prayed with tears, telling the Lord that she was “the worst sinner that ever lived,” we rejoiced at the transformation. She obviously has a long road of growth ahead of her, but we left her house today exhilarated that God is still in the soul saving business. In so doing, I was reminded of three great lessons.
The first is the fellowship of soul winning. The Bible is clear that some plant, some water, but God gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6). Two of our ministerial students, home on summer break, were the first to make contact with this home, going door to door on Saturday. They were the first to present this lady with the Gospel message. They planted. They gave me her contact information, and the follow up took place today. We watered. The Holy Spirit spoke to her heart this afternoon. God gave the increase. In such a scenario, the one who plants and the one who waters feel connected together. They have worked together to bring forth fruit (1 Corinthians 3:8). And both the planter and the one who waters feel more connected to God as He blesses their efforts with increase (1 Corinthians 3:9). There is fellowship that comes through sharing the Gospel. Christians feel connected to each other, and Christians feel connected to Christ. The thrill of sharing the Gospel unites believers around the Great Commission. There is less bickering among Christians when they put their petty differences aside to do commission work.
Second, there is forgiveness of sins. How great it is to see a soul flooded with the realization that nothing can keep them from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39). A woman may abandon her own child, but God will not abandon her (Isaiah 49:15). God can take a soul that is full of the spirits and help it to be full of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). There is forgiveness with God (Psalm 130:4). Let us never get tired of saying it and seeing it!
Finally, there is fruit in service. How often we want to sit around and debate about what compels a fish to bait rather than putting our line in the water. No matter what motivates a fish to grab the worm, he is only motivated if someone goes fishing. The promise of God is that they who sow in tears reap in joy (Psalm 126:5-6). I want to be a reaper, and the only way that can happen is for me to enter the harvest field. All things considered, the lazy man catches fewer fish. To be sure, there are days when they just aren’t biting, but they will never bite if we never fish.
In all the duties of the pastor, including but not limited to sermon prep, shut-in visitation, administration, counseling, and planning, let us never forget that God has called us preachers to be an example by doing the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5). There are some days, like today, when you are glad you did.