Trim Your Lamp!
"Therefore watch!" Matthew 25:13 Do we wonder why we don't have more opportunities to share the gospel? Maybe a better question is, do we ever wonder how many gospel opportunities we may be missing simply because we are not expecting them? Are we prayerfully attentive to the lost around us? Do we really believe that Jesus wants us (that's you and me) to bring the gospel to them, personally? The virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. Matthew 25:13 In the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) the wise virgins took extra flasks of oil to trim their lamps - that is, to keep them well lit - for when the bridegroom came. The foolish ones had to go get more oil. While they were out, the bridegroom arrived. The wise virgins entered the marriage feast, but when the foolish virgins returned, the door was already shut. I want to be ready for the Bridegroom. I want to dwell in Christ's presence, and live for him, everyday. I want to keep my lamp trimmed. What does that look like where we live? We live in community of 44 homes. In the back of my Bible I have a scribbled-out map of these homes full of names of individuals, families, relations, and ongoing needs. This reminds me to pray for my neighbors everyday. I also pray that I would be attentive to gospel opportunities that I might otherwise miss. To anticipate them. To seize them. To be ready for them. I've discovered more opportunities emerge the more I live this way. Or, maybe I'm just noticing them more often! Earlier this week I took a believing friend to meet one of my neighbors who had a lot going on in his life. We prayed for favor. I warned my friend of the stress my neighbor was experiencing. We weren't sure what to expect. Praise God, my neighbor was as eager to hear the gospel as we were to share it. God answers prayer! There is everything God-sized about seeing the light of the gospel come into the soul of a lost neighbor. Everything about that is a miracle. Supernatural. This strengthens our faith. This helps us to see with eyes of faith. To begin to see churches planted, and cities engaged, and peoples reached from God's perspective. Our faith is strengthened when we personally share the gospel with our lost neighbors, in their language, as we get to see lives changed by the resurrection power of God (Col 2:12). That is simply…amazing! When we live this way, we will never again have a man-sized strategy for planting churches, engaging cities, or reaching unreached peoples.
Our faith is strengthened when we personally share the gospel with our lost neighbors, in their language, as we get to see lives changed by the resurrection power of God. (Col 2:12)
Trim your lamp! Keep it well lit. Be ready. Be watchful. Live out the gospel in your local community as you learn language. Don't forsake your call to do that. Pray. Expect God to give you amazing miraculous gospel encounters, with your own neighbors, personally. Allow that to stretch your faith, to see how God will reach your community. Step into that strategy! Live this way everyday. Dwell in Christ's presence. Hear from his word. Savor the gospel. Pray in faith. Learn language. Look for opportunities. Share the gospel. Anticipate God's miraculous saving work in the lives of those around you. And experience the wonder of God!