Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Energized for Evangelism

"But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens" (Exodus 18:21).

When Israel came out of Egypt, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, came out to meet them. When he saw that Moses was sitting all day long to teach the people and to judge disputes, he told him that what he was doing was unwise. Jethro’s advice was to organize the nation with elders over tens, fifties, hundreds, and thousands, and to leave only the toughest cases for appeal to Moses himself.

The importance of this kind of organization can be seen from the history of World War II. A tiny and impoverished nation, already defeated in World War I, took on virtually the entire world. Germany challenged France, Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union—and almost won. One reason Germany was so successful was because of its strong military organization, an organization that resembled what Jethro set up for Moses.

Being organized, however, is not enough. Just as an organized army needs armaments as well, so the church also needs power. We see this in Numbers 11, where the people complained about the manna. Moses responded by complaining to God that he was unable to bear the burden of carrying the people alone. God responded by distributing to 70 of the elders of Israel the Spirit which had formerly been exclusively with Moses. Some of Moses’ loyal supporters were upset when they saw others prophesying, but Moses said, “I wish that all the LORD’S people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit on them!” (Numbers 11:29). Moses’ wish becomes a prophecy in Joel 2, where that prophet predicts that in the new covenant all people would be given the Spirit. In Acts 2, on the Day of Pentecost, the empowering of God’s army became a reality.

Evangelism is a worldwide effort on the part of God’s Spirit-empowered army, the Church. God gives wisdom to organize and strength to perform in response to prayer. Take some time today to pray for worldwide evangelism, and pray specifically for missionaries you know. If you do not have a list of missionaries to pray for, take steps to make one.