I have often meditated on this series of scriptures. But generally my focus has been on “these signs.” I have been encouraged by the promise of miracles, signs, and wonders. If I believe, I will cast out demons in His name. If I believe, I will speak with new tongues. If I believe, deadly poison will not harm me. If I believe, I will lay my hands on the sick, and they will recover.
However, this day, the Lord directed my attention to start of this passage: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (emphasis added). The Lord has commanded us to “go.” So often we focus on the promises of God without heeding His commands. But His promises and commandments go hand in hand. To live in the fullness of His calling on our lives, we must learn to follow His commands, just as we expect to be blessed according to His promises.
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” We had been sitting at home and expecting people to come to us. But the Bible commands us to be the ones to “go.” So, the Lord put it in my heart that we needed to “go.” We needed to stop waiting for our family, friends, and neighbors to come. We needed to go into the highways and the byways and share His love with anyone who would listen.
We needed to actively seek the lost.
All too often I have seen newscasts reporting missing persons. However, such newscasts are generally accompanied by inspiring stories of communities banding together to organize extensive search parties in order to find the lost. Complete strangers volunteer their time, money and efforts in order to seek and save the lost. As fellow humans, we believe that when someone is lost, it is our responsibility to go out and find him. We cannot expect the one who is lost to come home on his own. We do not sit at home, patiently waiting for the lost to return. But, we labor day and night, running here and there, checking in every nook and cranny, leaving no stone unturned, in hopes of finding the lost. As long as the tiniest ray of hope remains, the search continues.
When we are willing to go to such efforts to find those who have been physically lost, why do we hesitate when it comes to seeking and saving the spiritually lost? Similarly, we should not wait for the spiritually lost to come to us seeking the Gospel. We should not sit and wait for those who need the Lord to come to us. Instead, we must “[g]o into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Just as He came to seek and save the lost, we are to walk in His footsteps and do the same.
With this message, I shared about the start of our work at The Orphanage Project.
In the evening Mom and I went down to the juvenile jail for a couple of meetings. I didn’t share during the first meeting, but had a chance to pray with some young people afterwards. I was surprised to learn that they “knew” me from when I used to visit the jail last year. They asked me to return to conduct Bible studies with them later in the week. I told them I would.
I shared our testimony during the second meeting. I was surprised to see how attentively the kids listened. Not one was squirming in his or her chair. As I continued with the message, I shared with them about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Many prayed and received afterwards. Again, the boys asked me to return for Bible study.
Three of my old boys were in the detention facility again, Chad, D’Angelo and Said. I had mixed emotions as I saw them. It was nice to see them, but disappointing that they were back. They were glad to see me.
I had not planned on regularly visiting the jail during this short stay. But, I have learned that God’s plans are better than my plans.
Scripture for the Day: