I believe God has blessed me with sympathy for the lost.
I realised this, or rather, was told this when I couldn’t help but break down uncontrollably when I thought of how my friends from track couldn’t understand the gospel. They didn’t even want to understand the fact that a fact remains a fact regardless if one believes it or not, and the unbelief of it could be greatly detrimental to the person. Using different life analogies didn’t even help. I was stuck in a car ride with someone who “wasn’t religious,” another who believed in a “higher power” but that power can’t be limited to a single being, and the last who was within the atheist and muslim range. Yes. It was a battle. And a somewhat frustrated one that I kept quiet for a while trying to hold back my tears but I couldn’t anymore. The next day when someone asked me what was wrong at church, as my mood was down, I couldn’t help but let it all out. It was hard to stop the tears. I was dumbfounded and in awe at how they just couldn’t see and understand the truth; that they were sinners in need of a Savior and nothing they did could help them out of the hopeless situation they were in.
The Good Burden
When I shared my heart with the lady who helped me understand the gospel and led me through my coming to faith journey, as she was the one who asked what was wrong as well as another young lady, she/they told me God had blessed me with a heart for the lost; a burden over the blind. And that that’s the good kind of burden as opposed to the bad one where I would feel like all the weight was upon me to save them, when it is actually God that does the opening of minds and softening of hearts.
I am just a vessel used to proclaim the good news of Christ to those who are lost and dead in themselves due to sin. I may plant the seeds, I may water it, but it is God who produces the growth and makes it bear fruit (1 Corinthians 3:6-8).
The Bad Burden
However, I was almost shifting into the bad kind of burden earlier this week, or I even did in fact. I started to think that perhaps it was my fault that people didn’t come to the weekly bible studies I constantly invited them for. Maybe it was the tactic I used. For those that I jumped into inviting directly, I thought, perhaps I didn’t care for them properly before inviting them on this study that talks about Why Jesus died? For those that I built into it, I was thinking maybe it came off as fake, deceitful, or perhaps too pressing, awkward or uninteresting? Could these be the reasons why although they say they may/would come, they don’t end up doing so, even with all my efforts and sacrifices made? I mean, look at the amount of students that come from my friends’ universities, but my sister and I are basically only the people constantly attending from mine. What do they do that I don’t? What is wrong with me? Surely, it’s me because just look at it. Why won’t even my friends who claim to be professing Christians come for this Christian program I’m affiliated with, as if it’s my stuff, and not God’s.
And that’s just the issue. I was treating labouring for souls as though it is on my own strength that I run. I had started to make it my own thing, thereby attempting to rob God of His glory and power. I was not allowing for grace to flow. I had forgotten that it was God that made efforts bear fruit, and that what I was called to be was to be faithful. Yes it hurt that they weren’t coming and that my efforts seemed futile and that they just couldn’t see the beauty of Jesus, and hence I cried my heart out in between the event, but later I thought it through.
Indeed, I may not have the best methods of reaching people with the good news but guess what? I choose to know nothing else but Christ crucified. I will try what I can, in showing love and care, while sharing the news and inviting people to these edifying events, to the best of my abilities by the strength of the Holy Spirit.
But what I will not do is think I was the one who started the Bible discussion group once again after about six years of nothing, last year September, as though he wasn’t working through my mentees from church. What I also refuse to do is think that the steady work God has started in AUD (my uni), will not be completed. I cease to engage in comparing the work that God is doing in AUD to the work He has been and is still doing in other universities. I choose to not grow weary of reaching out to the lost. I will not wallow and condemn myself each time no invitee attends as though it was due to my efforts. I will refrain from depending on my own strength and efforts in bringing people to faith, but trust solely in the saving power of the message of Christ crucified. And lastly, I will never forget that God is in control and is the only One who has the power to bring people to faith.
All these I will do, by the grace, strength, love, mind, and Spirit of Christ. Though I may indeed fail to think these way or do these things, He will hold me fast and draw me back to Him. He is my Father. He will never forsake me. He will continue to keep me in Him, being faithful to finish what He started in me.