It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, and afterward to reconsider his vows.
Hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it
Often, I hear Christian leaders boast about three things: 1) The length of time they have been saved; 2) The size of their congregations; 3) How many people they (or their ministry) have brought to Jesus--often by alter call conversions.
My own come-to-Jesus meeting was extremely personal. So were those of my children. Surely, we were helped by excellent disciples. Even so, our commitments to Christ were One-on-one--with no man in the middle.
Studies show, a convert's continuance following an alter call conversion is as low as 1%.* Although I want every person on earth to believe in Jesus, to experience the peace and joy found nowhere else, I hesitate to focus on the quantities of conversions--as opposed to the quality of even one.
Consider Jesus. He taught and tested potential disciples before accepting them. He made the cost to follow Him quite clear--so clear that 'Many of His disciples, when they heard this... walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, 'Do you also want to go away?' ' (John 6:60,66-67).**
Consider Alexander MacLaren's Expositions on Luke 14:28 (Counting the cost): 'Christ sought for no recruits under false pretences, but rather discouraged than stimulated light-hearted adhesion. His constant effort was to sift the crowds that gathered round Him... Was that because He did not wish them to follow Him? He desired every soul in that crowd for His own, and He knew that the best way to attract is sometimes to repel; and that a plain statement of the painful consequences of a course will quench no genuine enthusiasm, but may turn a mere flash in the pan into a purpose that will flame through a life.' ***
Actors, models and talent for Christ: the conversion of a sinner to a saint is the job of Jesus. Your job is His advertisement: to follow Him and represent Him well. Sooner or later, people will ask the Reason for your kindness, the Reason for the hope you carry. When they do, tell them.
The rest is between Him and them.
To Be Continued...
* Falling away from the faith: stats and quotes on conversions: http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/10144/are-there-any-real-statistics-on-how-many-people-fall-away
* Article: 'The Alter Call: Is it Helpful or Harmful?' http://www.biblicalstudies.com/bstudy/contempry/altar.htm
** John 6:60-29: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+6%3A60-69&version=NKJV
*** MacLaren's Expositions on Luke 14:48: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/14-28.htm
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Christian Pitfalls series.