By Clarence W. Fell
Personal work is essential for growth. If we don’t do the work then no work gets done. Unfortunately our attitude is not always as it should be toward personal work. We get tired and discouraged because we sometimes see little success from our efforts. Then the Devil steps in and starts whispering, “What’s the use? No one wants to hear the Bible anymore.” Tired and discouraged we are tempted to agree. We start trying to convince ourselves that we can do all our personal work by example from now on. Many of us have felt something like this at one time or another. Not even elders, deacons, teachers and preachers are immune. Therefore, having faced the temptation first hand, I made up a list of motivators to help adjust an improper attitude. I trust you will find some encouragement in the following points.
1. You can’t lose them all. The law of averages guarantees you will win some sooner or later. Hang in there and stick with it (Heb. 3:14).
2. At any given time it is reasonable to say that one percent or more of your area population is interested in a Bible topic (Eccl. 3:11). It’s a matter of fishing until you find them and then developing a friendly relationship.
3. When digging for diamonds you have to go through a lot of dirt. The same is true when searching for honest hearts (Matt. 7:13-14). But it’s worth it (Lk. 15:10).
4. Sincere efforts in evangelism please God even if we don’t change the world by our efforts (2 Tim. 4:1-5).
5. There is no set quota that you must fill. God simply requires that you keep trying (Rev. 2:10). Eventually you’ll lead someone to Jesus.
6. Not even Jesus had a 100 percent success rate so why should we expect to convert everyone we approach (Mk. 10:17-22).
7. Facing the challenge of evangelism indicates maturity. Avoiding the challenge indicates immaturity (Heb. 5:12-14).
8. Doing what you can in evangelism shows you care for the lot. Talk is cheap and actions do speak louder than words (Jas. 2:14-26).
9. Doing what you are able to do in evangelism shows you understand God’s desire for Christians to do what they are able to do (Matt. 25:14-30).
10. Doing what we are able to do in evangelism shows we care for the local work (1 Jn. 2:3-6).
11. The few (or many) successes you have will be worth all the effort. They will be the most valuable successes of your life (Matt. 16:26).
12. You can’t catch fish if you don’t keep your bait in the water. Be a persistent fisherman (Matt. 4:18-20). You’re not a loser until you quit.
13. Persistence will pay off! (Matt. 10:22)
14. Continuous effort and contact bring you closer to success (Acts 18:4; 19:8-10).
15. Every effort when viewed in retrospect will probably teach you something and move you further up the ladder of maturity (Heb. 5:14).
16. It is not your individual responsibility to convert the entire world, but rather to make an honest, sincere and continuous effort in the area you live (Mk. 5:18-20).
17. There is life for the personal worker after “no” (Lk. 9:5-6).
18. There is no greater challenge than that of becoming proficient in personal evangelism. Few exercise the selfdiscipline necessary to become proficient at personal evangelism (Matt. 9:37). Will you be one of them?
19. What better way to express your love and appreciation to God and others than through personal evangelism (Jn. 15:14; 2 Cor. 5:14)?
20. Success in evangelism is one of the greatest feelings on earth. It’s great to fall asleep with a smile on your face. Go for it! (Gal. 6:4)
21. Doing evangelistic work is active involvement in life. It is not being a spectator, bystander or a couch potato, it is participation in life. It’s really living, having a part in life, making a difference and having a purpose (Matt. 12:30).
22. It is my legal, consAitutional and God-given right to approach anyone in a polite manner and endeavor to interest him in the Bible (Rom. 13:1-7).
23. Eternity is in the heart of man, every man (Eccl. 3:11). God put it there! The prospect may have buried it deep and deny that it is there but it is there and we can appeal to it. Man has not changed. He is the same as ever (Eccl. 1:9).
24. Set a good example for the congregation: do personal work! (Matt. 5:16; Tit. 2:7-8)
25. A barren Christian is a contradiction of terms (Matt. 13:23).
26. Our job is not just to hold the fort but rather to storm the heights also (Jude 3).
27. The world is seeking someone to follow and will follow someone. Will it be Jesus or Satan? (Matt. 9:35-38; 12:30)
28. People are hungry for a better way of life. Show them the better way that Jesus offers (Jn. 10: 8-11).
29. Faith is a natural part of man. He believes in many things (doctors, dentists, banks, news reports, history, friends, etc.). He can also believe in God if he chooses to do so (Jn. 20:30-31).
30. Satan cannot stop you (Rom. 8:31-39).
31. Let’s face it, there is no magic formula; if the church is going to grow we must work (Rom. 10:14-15).
32. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. No pain, no gain (2 Tim. 2:3).
33. If one idea doesn’t work, try another one. Never, never, never quit (Gal. 6:9).
34. Today is a new day. Forget yesterday’s failures and move on (Phil. 3:12-16).
35. God doesn’t reward laziness but he does reward diligence (Heb. 11:6).
36. Personal work is like swimming in cold water. You’re uncomfortable at first but after a while you don’t want to get out (Acts 8:14).
37. When you evangelize you are part of the solution. When you don’t, you’re part of the problem (Matt. 12:30).
38. Even if you are on the right track you’ll still get run over if you just sit there (Rev. 3:15-16). Christianity is a race (Heb. 12:1). Get up and get moving! (1 Cor. 9:24-27)
39. The crucifixion (Matt. 26:46-27:56). How can we sit idle when Jesus suffered and died that we might have the hope of salvation (2 Cor. 5:14).
So there you have it. I trust that one or more of these thoughts will be of help to you when facing discouragement. Keep the list handy and if you start getting discouraged refer to it and adjust your attitude before the problem becomes too serious (Rev. 3:15-16).
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 21, pp. 643-644
November 7, 1991