As an extremely vertically challenged female (5 foot even), sports have never exactly been my strong suit. Do I enjoy some sports? Absolutely. But I’ve never really been enthralled with them, & frankly sports analogies normally drive me nuts. That is, until my little ones got big enough to be involved in them. Now then, the more I watch my girls play sports, the more I see the church in what they do.
For example: my precious four-year-old started playing soccer this year. The best way I know of to describe her first game is watching a herd of cattle. A herd of childhood humanity running back and forth across the field as one entity. As the child in front would change direction, so would all of the others. There was no offense, no defense, and at times, not even a ball around! They were just running back and forth across the field, having fun, but not having any particular goal in mind.
While it was one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen (and yes, I have every stampede captured on video) I couldn’t help but see today’s church out there running aimlessly back and forth across the field.
As a body, I’m afraid we have lost sight of our goal. Matthew 28:19-20 commands, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Jesus said in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” And in 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul declares, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” Would this not especially apply to Christ’s goal of seeking and saving the lost?
However, I fear that as the Lord’s church we have lost sight of exactly what it means to seek and save the lost. This point has been driven home to me recently by our older daughter, Re’Elle, who is learning to play softball. She understands the goal of the game, yet we hear, “eek!”, “yikes”, and “uh-oh!” constantly as she runs across the yard with her glove out and a very, “please jump into my glove, ball!” expression on her face. She understands the goal, but not how to get there.
I believe this is the way many today feel about soul-winning. We timidly go up to our friends and say, “You’re probably busy, but if not and you really want to, would you pretty please study the Bible with me sometime in the future?” Then we wonder why people always say no.
Many times we feel that we have to defend ourselves and the fact that we’re trying to save people’s souls! Society has made us feel that it is anathema to even risk offending someone by offering to study the Bible with them. As a result, we are shy, timid, & offer excuses for the fact that we are willing to sacrifice our time to study the Gospel with someone who is lost.
Is that the way the Lord’s church should approach the lost with the gospel? Matthew 16:18 reads, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Well brethren, are gates offensive or defensive?
Defensive! Not only should we not be shy and timid when handling Scripture, we should be on the attack! Satan is out there fighting for people’s souls, we have to fight harder! We have already been guaranteed that not even the gates of Hades can stand against us when we stand on the Gospel! As God’s people we need to be proudly declaring to our friends, family, and neighbors what Paul said in Acts 20:27, “for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”
Is this our attitude? Can we honestly say that? Is this how we, as the Lord’s ambassadors, have been presenting the Gospel to a lost and dying world? Or are we like my daughter with her softball glove, running around saying, “please jump into my glove?” Are we saying, “please lost, come and find me so I can teach you, but only if you have time and really want to.”
Brethren, as the Lord’s body we must know what our goal is: seeking and saving the lost, and we MUST know how to do it: boldly! Let us daily strive to reach our true goal of being on this earth. Let us go on the offensive and take the Gospel to the lost souls we come into contact with every day. Let us be like the apostles in Acts 5:42, “And every day, in the temple from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”