Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Saviour Thy Dying Love"1 (Lyrics)
Romans 10:14b,15b – And how shall they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" (NIV)
A few years ago, several churches in my area participated in the Finding the Hope campaign. Dozens of Christian volunteers went door to door and blitzed the whole city with a small booklet about salvation and an invitation to church, delivered to each mailbox.
I won't forget that early spring day because the rain came down in buckets. It was icy cold, and my teammate and I were soaked through to the skin. Unable to use an umbrella, we delivered the pamphlets clumsily with soggy gloves and numb fingers. Up and down driveways we hurried, careful not to cut across anyone's property. Hair dripping and feet squishing in our shoes, we strode swiftly along our assigned route.
At the end, we were too wet to sit down for the hot drinks provided. We hauled ourselves onto plastic-protected car seats, cranked the heat up, and headed home to hot baths. We might have been miserable, but instead, we were ecstatic that we'd completed the task. As uncomfortable as we were, those of us who live in rural areas stopped at mailboxes on the way, wanting to get the Word out to as many as possible.
After all this, did we see more people in church the next day? My church is large and I don't know everyone, but I didn't notice any strangers. The euphoria soon left. Time passed, and I never heard of anyone attending as a result of the campaign. I often comforted myself by thinking that they all must have gone to other churches.
About three years later, I led a Bible study series, and on the last evening, we held a celebration. While nibbling finger-foods, I invited the group to tell their stories about how they came to our church or why they chose this class. When it came to the turn of a couple who had been particularly interested, I was astounded to hear that they had received a Finding the Hope booklet in their mailbox and had come to our church the next day! As a result, they and their four children were all saved. I am so thankful that God was gracious enough to let me know that this couple responded to His divine invitation. There may be more in my community, but for me it is enough that I know of this family.
Matthew 28:19a – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations. (NIV)
Many of us have had the experience of sharing God's Word with others and being disappointed when it appeared to have made no difference. However, we are indeed our brother's keeper. The responsibility of sharing the good news of salvation rests upon us. Let us not give up, and let us not give up hope, either. We can be assured of the truth of God's promise:
Isaiah 55:11 – So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (NIV)
Prayer: Father, when You ask things of us that are not easy, and when we never hear the result of our obedience, assure us that Your Word never returns to You empty. Help us to be Your messengers of hope. Amen.