Into all the World#12. “What’s holding you back?”

Into all the World#12. “What’s holding you back?”

In my youth, I met a missionary couple who were polar opposites in temperament. He was soft-spoken and very measured in all he did and said. She was excitable and spoke what was on her mind. I learned a lot from them. She used to often say, “Christians need to bear fruit for Jesus, and that, I believe is winning souls.”

As the years went by, I wondered if she had “toned her approach down” a little. I had the honour of visiting her in her old age about ten years ago (her husband had gone on to his reward). She might have been a little slower, and she might have thought herself a little too housebound, but she had never stopped surrounding herself with new generations of young people ready to preach the gospel. Somehow, I doubt that they ever left her presence without hearing her say, “Christians need to bear fruit for Jesus, and that, I believe is winning souls.”

The greatest of God’s missionaries was imprisoned on more than one occasion. At first glance, it would hardly appear to be an effective strategy for world evangelism. However, the apostle Paul took his incarcerations in his evangelistic stride.

Jail may have been a hindrance to his physical movement, but not to the movement of the Gospel. He trusted Christ.

From a Roman jail, and in his old age, he assured Timothy (the next generation of preachers), “I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned” (2 Timothy 2:9).

You don’t have to be old and behind bars to lack mobility. The normal rhythms of life can offer good reasons for limited movement. Children can keep you close to home for decades, as can the care of ageing loved ones. Let’s not forget our own ailments and the inevitability of getting old.

We must never see ourselves as useless to the spread of the Gospel. We must be ever praying that God will open doors of opportunity beyond our present reach. But also, we must create opportunities in every circumstance we find ourselves.

“What’s holding you back?”

John Staiger

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