When I am interviewed by reporters about Harvest Crusades, the question I am asked more than any other is, “Why do you do this? Why do you put all of this effort into these events?”
It is a lot of work to do these events. We do them through Harvest Ministries and Harvest Christian Fellowship, the church where I pastor. Some take more than a year to set up, with preparation work and training classes. They require a lot of effort.
So why do it? Because I am a man under orders. I have a Commander-in-Chief called Jesus. He has commanded me to go into all the world and preach the gospel.
As I have often said, it is not the Great Suggestion; it is the Great Commission. And I am not the only one who is called to do this. You are called to do this as well.
It isn’t really an option for me to say, “I won’t share my faith. I won’t preach the gospel. I won’t tell others about Jesus.” For me not to do this, for me not to make an effort to reach others with the gospel can be sin, because there are sins of commission and omission.
The sin of commission is doing what you should not do, while the sin of omission is not doing what you ought to do. The Bible tells us, “To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17 nkjv).
Let’s say that somehow I had discovered the cure for cancer. Would it be wrong for me to keep that secret to myself and never tell anyone? Of course it would.
How much more wrong would it be to keep it a secret if we have the cure, if you will, for eternal damnation?
We have the solution to humanity’s problems. We have the way for people to know God. If we only apply that in our own lives and keep it to ourselves and never tell others, then certainly that is falling short of what God would want.
Yet most Christians do not engage in evangelism. I read a survey that said that 95 percent of Christians have never led another person to Christ. I don’t know what percentage you fall into, and I don’t want to lay a guilt trip on you. In fact, it just may be that you have been involved in more people coming to the Lord than you realize.
Every prayer that you have prayed for a lost person, every time you have given out a gospel tract, every time you have just been a good witness where you live or work, you have been, in effect, sowing a seed and engaged in the work of evangelism.
Evangelism is not only telling people about Christ — though evangelism includes that — it is also getting out there and letting your light shine.
You may sow a seed that another may water. Then again, you may water a seed that someone else has sown. Or, you may reap where others have both sown and watered. As the apostle Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6 nkjv). You play a part.
When we were in Hawaii a number of years ago for a Harvest Crusades event, one of our volunteers was out on the streets with his little boy, handing out invitations to the event. When his son spotted a very burly biker with tattoos up and down his arms, he said, “Dad, I am going to go give him an invitation.”
His father told him no, but the boy insisted. Before he could stop his son, he was tugging on the biker’s arm. The biker looked down, and the boy gave him the flyer. Then the biker crumpled it up.
The father and son quickly made their exit, but the encounter went better than they realized. That night, when the gospel invitation was given, the first man on the field was that biker. He came because a little boy gave him a flyer.
The seed you sow today could turn into a tremendous harvest later. Remember, the Word of God will not return void, but it will prosper in the place where He sends it (see Isaiah 55:11). You may think your attempt to share the gospel went nowhere, but you never know.So keep sharing your faith. And be patient.
Out of their long and painful journey has come a really helpful survival guide, so to speak. It’s a book called Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything. It’s not just an inspiring story of triumph through trials but a how-to book for accepting God’s plan and recognizing His providence even when it feels like your world is shattered.