I had the privilege to visit the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC last week. It is a place filled with information and inspiration about Dr. Graham’s ministry over the past 60 years.
As I went from room to room of this interactive and visual walk through godly history, the Holy Spirit spoke very strongly to me. He reminded me of the priority I used to place on witnessing and living my life first of all to show others the way to heaven. Dr. Graham’s recorded voice (and the Holy Spirit’s still, small voice) kept saying to me, “There is nothing more important than evangelism and leading others to Christ.”
I get that – or at least I used to…
I remember when I would take gospel tracks with me everywhere I went. I remember not so long ago when I would ask my restaurant waiter if I could pray for him/her and would leave a track with my tip. I remember in middle and high school the excitement I had over sharing my faith with my friends. In fact, I would deliberately make friends with guys just so I could help lead them to salvation in Jesus. I recall on many occasions literally sobbing and crying out to God for my loved ones and friends. Once, I invited my cousin who never came to church to a revival service. During the invitation the Lord told me to go back to her and ask her if she wanted me to go with her to receive Christ. It was a scary thing for a 6th grader, but when I obeyed, my cousin got saved.
Only a couple or three years ago, the Lord told me to go over to my elderly relatives’ home and share the Good News with them. After some hesitation and a lot of prayer, I went. Both the man and his wife prayed to trust Christ as their Savior! It was like heaven on earth!
Yes, those were the days.
But for some reason, of late my burden for the lost has waned. I’ve become so busy and focused on “my ministry” and on teaching others about worship that somehow I have missed the whole point of ministry and worship. I couldn’t tell you the last time I prayed more than one minute for a lost person. In fact I can’t name on one hand the lost people I know. My indictment is that I have been living in my own little church world and failing to be salt of the earth to those around me who desperately need God’s tender seasoning.
I recently heard Dr. Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, GA, talk about sowing and reaping. He reminded us of that powerful and promising passage in Psalm 126: “They that go forth weeping will doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them.” Dr. Hunt pointed out that no farmer would expect to reap a harvest if he never sowed any seed. Then why, he probed, do we church people come in Sunday after Sunday expecting a great harvest of souls to flood the altar when we have done no sowing to lost people throughout the week?
I have come face to face with my sin. I now see the horrible discrepancy in leading others in worship on Sunday but not leading my neighbor to Christ on Monday – or on any day, for that matter.
Forgive me, O Lord. I want Your burden for those who don’t know You. I don’t need some preacher jargon. I don’t need someone else’s guilt imposed on me. I need and desire Your heart and Your eyes – eyes that watched Your only Son die for lost people who You don’t want to watch go to hell.
Fortunately and thankfully, God has heard my prayer and cleansed me. He is restoring my burden and determination to share my faith. (Guess that means I don’t have to resign from leading worship at my church after all!) With my passion for the lost restored, I can stand this Sunday and proclaim in public what I do and who I am in private! Hallelujah!
My fellow worship leaders and pastors, He can restore your passion and burden as well. It begins with repenting and asking.