By Dr. Lynn Hardaway
Brian was fledgling in his desire to plant an acorn to grow an oak tree. One discouraging advisor reminded him it takes decades for a mighty oak to develop and he would not live long enough for that to happen. He sought the counsel of the ever-wise Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and her words convinced him to go ahead with his plans.
“It’s true, you may not live to see it become a mighty oak tree, but you will be able to sit beneath its shade with your children and grandchildren; and, it will be seen by generations after you are gone. When you hold an acorn, you hold a hundred years in your hand.”
I like that scene in the Dr. Quinn series because it reminds me that what we do now in the Lord’s work will be evident for all of eternity. Heaven will be populated by the people we have reached with the gospel. A heartfelt smile, a knowing look, words of appreciation, the joy of seeing someone we led to Christ singing and shouting glory to the Lamb of God, a long conversation beneath the trees that line the river of the water of life, introductions to family and friends of those who followed Christ through our ministry; these are the visual images that can keep us on track for evangelism in this current age.
Many voices advise us it is too hard to bring people to Christ today, and some will fall away, and it takes too much time and energy to grow faithful followers of Jesus, and, and, and… these counselors seem to want to hand us a shovel to help us bury the “talent” left in our stewardship by the Master. The gospel is not like an acorn; it is not meant to be buried in fear or frustration or because of some theological whimsy; it is meant to be invested in the marketplace of people’s lives, preached unapologetically with an opportunity for response and presented with risk to individuals and relationships.
When you shake someone’s hand, you are gripping an eternal soul in your hand. When you look in their eyes, you are seeing eternity – that person will exist eternally. This is a foundational truth Jesus understood; it is why He lived every day with reaching people on His mind. He knew better than anyone that the two great eternities – heaven and hell – were, and are, the only alternatives for the souls of our rebellious race.
When we are all standing before that majestic throne John describes, gazing with awe and wonder at our Glorious Lord and Savior, you and I will enter into His joy when we can scan the crowd and recognize persons He reached through our witness.
Go ahead, dig the gospel up from the safe place you buried it, hand the shovel back to the fear-filled and do what He said to do – invest it in people.
Lynn will be teaching a session in the Fall Leadership Training events titled, “Navigating the Rapids: Making Sense of Our Changing Culture”