The one in front of you

There are big numbers in the book of Acts.

That is, we read about multitudes of people coming to faith in Christ. It’s an inspirational reminder to people of faith. Peter once told people he didn’t know Jesus. In Acts, his first sermon reaped instant fruit. Three thousand people believed in Jesus because of him.

Have you ever failed Jesus? Most likely, you didn’t hear a rooster crow after you did, but Acts reminds us our failures don’t have to be our future. If God used Peter, God will use you.

In another instance, religious leaders arrested Peter and John for teaching people about Jesus. What they said about the resurrection of the dead annoyed the leaders. So, they put them in jail. I’m sure I’ve annoyed church leaders with my sermons. I’m glad to say I’ve escaped sermonic arrest.

Their preaching and arrest were not in vain. Luke tells us that five thousand people believed what they said about the Risen Christ. Any preacher would love to boast the fruit of those two stories alone. But the numbers don’t stop there. The church continues to multiply.

Often, those big numbers astound us. Have I ever even had the chance to address thousands of people at one time? There’s no way I could look forward to thousands of people coming to Jesus because of me, right? I ask that as one pastor, but our churches ask those kinds of questions, too.

It’s hard for us to imagine having that kind of reach. But we try.

And there’s nothing wrong with wanting more people to know the love of God. That’s what God desires. I just don’t want us to be so enamored with big numbers that we miss a more important one.

It doesn’t appear to me that the apostles are always looking for huge crowds. They preach where they are. Sometimes, the multitudes heard a sermon only because the apostles stopped to talk to one man who needed healing. They were faithful with God’s message wherever they went. Even if the people weren’t there yet.

Now, you may remind me that you are not an apostle. Well, I’m not either. But the message of the Risen Savior is ours. God gave it to us.

What do we do with it?

What we can’t do is wait for thousands of people to show up before we share it. God loves every person you meet. Every person. I don’t want to ignore the one person in front of me because I’m pursuing the thousands I want to preach to.

I don’t want you to miss the joy of offering Christ to someone you meet because you’re waiting for your church membership to grow.

Some might think this is no time to share our message. The world doesn’t want to hear what we have to say. Friend, that has always been true. Why do you think the apostles were in jail? Are you kidding? It feels like the world has never needed to hear about Jesus more!

Don’t wait for the crowds, though. Speak the love of God to the one person in front of you today.

Stay blessed…john

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