[forthright] Give Me Zeal

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2008 13:53:26 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Fidelity

Give Me Zeal
by Mike Benson

It was Saturday morning, January 11. The
temperature outside was absolutely frigid. The
Weather Channel had just announced that it was
eleven degrees in our part of southwest Indiana,
not including the wind chill. The bright sunshine
filtering through the windows of my house gave a
false impression of what it was actually like to
be "in the elements."

My children and I were inside enjoying the warmth
and peace of a quiet weekend. Then there was a
knock at the door. I thought to myself, "Who in
the world would be out in this kind of weather?!"
As I opened the door, I noticed two elderly women
standing at the front steps. Both were shivering
from the piercing cold; both were carrying small
satchels at their side. I quickly spied one of the
satchels. I could make out the letters on the
front cover of a small publication —- "Awake!" The
lady nearest to the door pulled the scarf away
from her mouth, then spoke in cheerful tones,
"Hello! We're with ..." Without thinking, I
finished her sentence. "You're with the Jehovah's
Witnesses." She smiled and said, "Yes." I tried to
let her know kindly that I was not interested in
her offer. They both then turned and headed for my
neighbor's house.

The more I pondered that brief encounter, the more
it struck me. "How many children of God would be
willing to sacrifice their Saturday to go door-
knocking? How many Christians would brave sub-zero
temperatures to tell others about their faith in
the risen Savior?" Those questions haunted me.
They still do.

Brethren, I certainly don't endorse the error that
members of the Watchtower Society espouse (2 John
9-11), but I can't help but admire their zeal
(Romans 10:2). Their faith is not merely a
cognitive thing, it is heartfelt and active. Folks
don't give up their weekend and trudge around town
in below-freezing weather trying to introduce
their neighbors to their religious ideology unless
they have some abiding conviction. The sad irony
is that we have the good news (2 Kings 7:9), but
often lack the passion which the Witnesses
exhibit.

Someone once said, "If a man has a soul, and he
has, and if that soul can be won or lost for
eternity, and it can, then the most important
thing in the world is to bring a man to Jesus
Christ." Amen! Saving souls ought to be our FIRST
priority (Luke 19:10)! Period!

In his book, Hearts on Fire, Don Humphrey exposes
our spiritual passivity. He notes:

"The average member of the church of Christ has
heard 4,000 sermons, sung 20,000 songs,
participated in 8,000 public prayers ... and
converted zero sinners" [p. 3]. ... God never
intended for Christianity to be church-building
centered. The message from God in the New
Testament is that He intends for us to go to the
lost (Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 26:16-18; Romans
1:14,15; 2 Timothy 2:2). Instead, our usual
evangelistic program involves having a nice
building and nice services to which the lost can
come. And if they don't come, they are not
reached. If our church-building evangelism method
could win America, it would already have done so"
[p. 7]. ... Our problem is that we have become
spiritually lethargic. We are like a car stuck in
a snow-drift —- the wheels are spinning and the
motor is racing, but there is no forward motion.
Congregations have full calendars with lots of
programs and activities but no forward direction
that will keep the main thing the main thing —-
growth. We have become indifferent. It doesn't
really matter to us that we are not growing.
People are lost, and we are evangelistically
inactive. ... Perhaps the Devil learned a lesson
[from first-century Christianity] ... Today he is
not persecuting us; he is lulling us to sleep…"
[pp. 12-13.]

Beloved, when was the last time you tried to teach
someone? When was the last time you fervently
prayed for the Lord to lead you to some lost soul
that you could help teach? When was the last time
you demonstrated the depth of your faith and told
another about Jesus Christ (Philemon 6)?

Consider your priorities.

Examine your heart.

Repent of your apathy and start knocking on the
doors of someone's heart today.

Jesus said healthy branches produce much fruit,
while barren limbs will be cut off and burned in
the fire (John 15:2,6.) Think about it.

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