By Dennis C. Abernathy
In Matt. 28:19, Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” In Mark 16:15-16, He said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” The understanding of these verses is very simple. They are not hard to understand, but to some, the hardness comes in the doing of what Jesus said.
We sit back and expect the people to flock to our church buildings so we can preach to them and, therefore, convert them. This is good, if we can get people to come to the services, but Jesus told you and me (my dear brother and sister) to go! Actually, before people will come we must first go. But to go, takes effort and time-in short, some sacrifice on our part. Do we want to do it? Not many of us, I am afraid. This is sad.
So a preacher is considering a new work (perhaps the church is very small) and brethren (perhaps preachers who have been there before) will say that the people in that city just are not interested in the gospel. I for one, do not believe it! I do not say we should not warn of pitfalls, problems, etc. and that we should not listen to good sound, knowledgeable advice, but my friend “they’re there, if we will just teach them.”
Surely we need not think that everyone will accept the truth (even Jesus could not get all men to accept it) but some will-these are the ones we must find. We must go where the people are and teach them where we find them. They may be the very poor, the successful business man, the very wealthy, the young and the old, the black and the white. But one thing is sure, all have a soul; all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and sin will cause one to be lost in hell (Rom. 6:23)!
We have a tendency to pick out the people we want to teach. But Jesus said “all the world” and “every creature.” Actually, the selection has been made for us, we must do the teaching, the planting and the watering. God will take care of the increase. Do not worry about the number of converts. God deserves the glory anyway and He is not unmindful of our efforts because we are laborers together with God (1 Cor. 3:6-9). Let each of us do the very best we can. God does not expect more than we are able and capable of doing, but He does expect all we are able and capable of doing! May we just make our feeble effort “to do what we can” to reach others with the gospel. Our labor will not be in vain (1 Cor. 15:58) and God will be pleased.
It is about like my mother used to tell me when I was a little boy and we would go to the cotton patch in the morning. I would say, “Where is the cotton?” Her reply would be, “It is out there (the field) you just have to get out there in it.” Well, when it comes to teaching the gospel-“they’re out there, let us just get out there with them and teach them.”
Truth Magazine XXII: 32, p. 521
August 17, 1978