We have all heard the comments:
“Today was a “good day” because we had x number of baptisms”
“Today was a “good day” because x number of people responded to the message”
As I think about those comments I understand where those making the comments are coming from. Many times I have thought those same thoughts myself. However, I wanted to remind you about the response(s) that no one sees.
There was a teenage boy, who ruled the world, (so he thought!) This teenager had it all figured out. He knew where he was headed in life, he knew what he hoped to become. And he was even raised in a Christian home. So he had a relationship (ish)with God.
One day however, this boys plans changed. It wasn’t because of some catastrophe, disaster, personal turmoil, or situations beyond his control. His plans changed because… He heard a sermon.
He had probably heard similar sermons before, but this time, something was different. Maybe it was the maturity that had begun to develop in him, maybe it was the passion that the preacher had while delivering the message. Whatever the case was, this time, he listened.
He listened to the scriptures being read, he listened to the charge that God has for all desiring to be “Men of God” and something began to stir within this young man’s heart. He responded to that message. He didn’t go down front, he wasn’t before the congregation, he wasn’t being baptized… He responded, in his heart.. And his life has never been the same.
As those close to me know already, this young man was/is me. Preaching is so powerful. Preaching still has the power to change lives each and everyday when that preaching is centered on Gods Word.
I understand the “measuring sticks” that we have today (number of people in the pews, baptisms, responses) but let us never forget that these are not the only responses that exist. There are always those responses, that no one sees… At least, until they look upon the changed life. God’s word still has the power to change people’s minds and hearts.. Even when we don’t “see it”
1Corinthians 3:6- I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
Hebrews 4:12- For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.