While walking to the last workshop that I attended during the Spiritual Leadership Conference in Lancaster, CA, one of the pastoral staff said to me, “How’s the conference so far? Any take-aways?” My wife asked me yesterday, “What is the one thing you are taking away from this conference?” Without hesitation, that take-away is a renewed passion for the Great Commission found recorded in Matthew 28:18-20, And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
On the flight home yesterday, I finished reading Church Zero by Peyton Jones. Before the final chapter, the author quoted C.T. Studd, “I pray that when I die, all hell will have a party to celebrate the fact that I am no longer in the fight.” That, my friend, is a startling, heart-stopping statement! Am I so motivated by Christ’s love for me (2 Corinthians 5:14) and zealous to share the gospel that hell would rejoice when I am gone?
As I write this, my mind runs back to yesterday and the opportunity to share Jesus with Pierre who sat next to me on the flight from Los Angeles to Charlotte. Pierre professed to know Christ and gave good evidence of it. Another man on that same flight as well as the “crop duster” flight to Tri-Cities is well-known in the NHRA Drag Racing world, John Force. I wanted to get to him and share at least a gospel tract. When I finally had the opportunity, he was engaged in a stressful conversation on his cell phone while waiting for his bag at the luggage turnstile. John Force is a highly successful driver, a winner of fifteen NHRA championships. But does he know Christ? That opportunity came briefly, but I missed it. I missed it. He was standing next to me, still stewing over his phone call. I wish I had turned, introduced myself and said, “John, I can tell you are under stress. My name is Dale, and I pastor a local church in the area. Could I stop and have a brief word of prayer for you right now?” I missed it. He grabbed his bag, and immediately was engaged again with someone on his phone as he walked toward the parking lot.
God is good, in spite of our failures, as He gave me the opportunity to briefly chat with one of John Force’s associates and give him a tract. When I arrived in Johnson City, the Lord sent two other opportunities along to minister to three people. Thank you, Lord!
I share all of this to simply be transparent with you. I want the last command of Christ to be my first priority. Christ came to seek and to save those who are lost (Luke 19:10). My commission is not to be an omission. I want to have the same passion as my Savior and missionary statesman, C.T. Studd. I want my “take-away” to be what other individuals take away from me—hearing the Gospel and knowing the love of God (John 3:16).