During a camp, a little girl got lost in the woods. Ten thousand troops of men were deployed in the hunting search, and they never paused until the girl was found.
People generally recognized the danger of getting lost in the wilderness and the value of saving a life. There are so many lost souls out there who are headed towards eternal ruin. Yet so many Christians today have the “couldn’t care less” attitude. All Christians are commissioned to preach the gospel (Mark 16:15, 16). Nonetheless, we see so many who are turning the “Great Commission” into the “Great Omission” for several reasons.
“I do not have enough Bible knowledge.”
“I have no time. I’m busy.”
“I fear being rejected.”
In all of these excuses, the Lord’s answer remains the same. “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20). He promised He will be with us. So what else is there to fear?
I remembered what the apostle Paul said.” I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). Paul’s attitude is certainly one to be admired for and imitated (1 Corinthians 11:1). In Paul’s epistle to the church at Rome, he wrote, “I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:14-17). We will never hear of Paul giving excuses. He said these striking statements instead: “I am debtor,” “I am ready,” and “I am not ashamed.”
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I AM DEBTOR. Most people would have trouble admitting that they are in debt. Let alone that they are debtors. The apostle, however, had no qualms telling that he is indeed a debtor. He owed his salvation to the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 9). He was then tasked by Christ to preach the gospel before the Gentiles and the Jews (Acts 9:15). That is why he was driven to share the gospel to all classes of people, whether they be Greeks, Barbarians, wise, or unwise. Should we not view ourselves as debtors too? We are debtors to Christ. Without His great sacrifice on the cross, we cannot save ourselves from our sins (1 John 2:2). We must therefore carry out the Great Commission that was tasked to us by our Lord. As the old hymn goes, “. . . The blessed gospel is for all.” We cannot make our own preferences in proclaiming the good news. The rich need the gospel as much as the poor, and the intellectuals as much as the simple-minded.
I AM READY. No soldier in his right mind would go to battle without making any preparations to fight. Paul was ready to preach the gospel. Though he was bestowed with miraculous gifts, he still had to ready himself in preaching the gospel. He suffered a lot of persecutions in spreading the word of God (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). If we are to list every difficulty the apostle went through, time and space would fail us. Yet despite every hardship, Paul still said, “I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also” (Romans 1:15). Are we ready to share the good news? This is a question that each Christian must reflect and answer for himself. Since we do not have miraculous gifts like the early church, we must prepare ourselves more. An in-depth study of the Scriptures is definitely essential in one’s preparation for sharing the gospel. It is not enough to read the Bible. There must be reflection, investigation, and application. Praying to God for favorable conditions could make a great difference too (e.g. good weather, receptive hearts, welcoming homes etc.). Admittedly, there are things way beyond our control. But realize this, God is always in control. Now, Christians must also be prepared to suffer trials and persecutions in preaching the gospel. Not all will have receptive hearts. Stephen was stoned to death when he preached to the Jews (Acts 7). Perhaps, someone might throw a stone, but never to stone us to death for sharing God’s word. Nonetheless, we ought to prepare for mockeries and insults that may come our way. If people had persecuted Jesus Christ (John 15:20), then what makes us think that we are an exception? But truth has nothing to fear. Even if it is our very own friends and families who will reject us. There is nothing to fear for we have God (Romans 8:3).
I AM NOT ASHAMED. I felt ashamed when I lost in a declamation contest because the microphone died after I slapped it as part of an act. Point is, there were a lot of things in life we felt ashamed of. And truth is, there are things that people should be ashamed of doing. But sharing the gospel is not one of them. Paul was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is God’s power unto salvation. He understood its very importance. It is the cure for man’s greatest problem—sin. Those who believe and obey the gospel will be saved. Why should we ever be ashamed of something that could save man? If we discover an antidote to an incurable disease, without second thoughts, we would happily share it to others. Preaching the gospel is not shameful; it is one of the most honorable thing that we can do. In retrospect, there is perhaps a need for us to change our attitude with regards to sharing the good news to others. Maybe it is high time we approach that colleague and mention to him Christ. Maybe that one relative is just waiting for our invite to a Bible class. Maybe it is about time we take a step and share God’s word to our unbeliever friends. We will never know. Unless we try. But one thing is for sure, they certainly need to hear the gospel.
Paul is a great example for us to follow in spreading the gospel. He said, “I am debtor, I am ready, and I am not ashamed.” So let us throw all the excuses out of the window. Do not follow what Moses did when he started to give excuses to God. Do not follow what Jonah did when he went the opposite way just to bail out on his God-given task. Do not follow what Peter did when he denied Christ in public. Be a debtor. Be ready. And be not ashamed. Spread the gospel just like Paul.
By Georgie Rondez
Georgie formerly studied at Four Seas College (of Bible and Missions) in Singapore and is currently residing in Compostela, Cebu, located in the Philippines. She worships with the members at the Compostela Church of Christ.