How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!'
And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.'
I've thought a lot about our commission to preach: how my pastor is a whiz when he talks to outsiders about God, and how I'm not.** Am I holding back from shyness, or am I preparing the way for others? Am I evading my duty or fulfilling it?
'Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps' ' (John 4:35-37).
In the early church, a dispute arose as to which disciples or jobs were more important. The Apostle Paul, arguably the world's most fruitful evangelist, answered this way: 'I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase' (1 Corinthians 3:6). In others words, God works through every willing heart.
If every heart is a type of soil, if God's Word is a Seed to be grown, if good soil must be tilled, planted, fertilized, watered, weeded and harvested in order to feed us, then preaching has many parts. So does the Body of Christ: His church.
Consider church elders, greeters, secretaries and cleaners; their media teams, finance committees, hospital ministries, and Sunday schools; their prayer warriors, small groups, bus drivers and baby-sitters. Each has a role to play in setting up the preacher's success.
Like John the Baptist did for Jesus 2000 years ago. Like you do for Jesus today.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: you are His messengers. You are His light-bearers, standard-holders and trail guides. You are His construction crew, raising a highway among twisted paths. You are His role models, revealing a better way to live.
To outsiders, you are intriguing. To insiders, you are inspiring. To all of them, you are preaching--each in your own giftings; each to a united purpose; each to prepare the way for the ultimate Preacher.
To Be Continued...
* 'How beautiful is the coming or the running of such a herald. The feet are emblematic of his coming. Their rapid motion would be seen; and their rapidity would be beautiful from the desire to hear the message which he brought. The whole meaning of the passage, then, as applied to ministers of the gospel, is, that their coming is an attractive object, regarded with deep interest, and productive of joy--an honored and a delightful employment.... That preach ... Literally, that evangelize peace. That proclaim the good news of peace; or bring the glad message of peace' (Barnes Notes on the Bible re: Romans 10:15, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/romans/10-15.htm)
** I attend Peachtree City Christian Church, led by Dr. George S. Dillard. He's a big guy who's especially big on Jesus. http://ptc3.com/about/peachtreecitycampusstaff/
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Leadership series.