These verses in Luke 10 have left a deep impression in me.
Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.” (Luke 10:2-3)
Harvest is referring to non-believers. Laborers are referring to believers sent out to preach to the non-believers. Sending you out as lambs among wolves means that it is not going to be easy when you go out to preach. There will be persecutions and all will not be smooth sailing. This made me think of my challenges in preaching.
About 20 years ago, when I was a newly baptized believer, some youths in church invited me to go visiting in the hospital. While visiting our church member, we got to know this patient who was paralyzed from waist down after he fell from the roof while working. We continued visiting this patient after he was discharged from hospital at his home. I believed then that if we preached to him, he would believe in God, be healed and with this miracle, everyone in his housing area would come to believe in God. However, things did not go as smoothly. His neighbor persecuted us by throwing stones at his house door whenever we visited and sang hymns. Eventually after many years, he did come to believe and so did the neighbors that threw stones at us.
Ten years ago, I moved to Japan. Our home in Japan is about 1.5 hours drive away from church. I had a strong desire to tell my friends about God and I believed that once my friends knew about Jesus they would all come to believe and there would be a church in the town where we lived. We invited the preacher to our house and started a monthly evangelical home service to introduce friends to Jesus. I invited more than 70 friends every month but only a handful of about 5 friends on average came. Some friends made fun and jokingly asked whether they could only come after the sermon session, when tea and snacks were being served. I smiled and said sure but was actually heart-broken, and I always battled within myself whether to stop inviting those who mocked and made fun. They may not have been interested then but circumstances could have changed for them to become interested, so I chose to continue inviting though it was painful.
The risk of losing friends and families makes it difficult to preach. It is more difficult to preach to friends and family whom you love and have close relationships with because there is this fear that they will not accept your God and you will lose your friendship or family ties because of this. If it is a stranger and they do not accept you, it is ok as you will not meet them again.
It is not easy to preach.
However, if no one invited me to True Jesus Church, I would not know God and would not be as happy as I am now. As the gospel is good for me, I want to share this with my friends and family and that is my motivation to preach.
I have two daughters and I often nag them not to leave their books all over and to tidy up. They do it for a while and then forget. That is because keeping the house tidy is not their priority. Similarly, if we do not find our own motivation to preach and we are only doing it because God instructed us to do so, we will preach a little and then give up. May the love of God and the goodness of the gospel touch us so that we may all be good laborers for the Lord.