Process and Event (1)
Welcome to the PMF Workshop for June 2022. I’m your host, T. M. Moore. Each month we provide teaching, encouragement, activities, and resources to help you in working your Personal Mission Field so that you can become more consistent and effective in realizing the presence, promise, and power of God’s Kingdom in your daily life.
This month’s Workshop is the first of a multi-part workshop entitled, “Process and Event.” This is Part 1, “Our Part and God’s.” Our text for this month’s workshop is 1 Corinthians 3.5-7:
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
Antidote to discouragement
It can be easy to become discouraged in working your Personal Mission Field. The opportunities for proclaiming the Gospel are few and far between, and even when you have an opportunity to share your testimony or tell someone the Good News, they seem only mildly interested.
To put it bluntly, we’re not seeing lots and lots of people come to faith in Jesus. At least, not in our Personal Mission Fields. And at least, not yet. That can be discouraging, so discouraging, in fact, that we’re tempted to conclude that leading people to Christ is not our “gift”. We’re just not very good at evangelism, so that must be someone else’s calling. Whereupon we assuage our discouragement by simply abandoning the work of evangelism and looking for something we can do well.
But the way to overcome discouragement is not to forsake the work which seems to be causing it. Instead, we must review the work we’re doing to make sure we’re doing what we’ve been called to do, and not something we’ve falsely assumed to be our work for one reason for another.
For example, our work is not to cause people to believe the Gospel. As Paul plainly states in our text, giving the kind of fruitful increase that brings people to faith in Jesus Christ is God’s work. It was His work when you came to Christ, and it is still His work. He works in His way and time, and He is never discouraged because His work is always just what it should be.
Only God can bring a person to faith in Jesus Christ. It’s not our job, and so rather than be discouraged when we see so few people coming to the Lord, we need to rejoice in the knowledge that God is at work and when He is ready, He will send His Spirit to change the hearts and lives of whomever He chooses.
It's not our work to make people believe. That should take a good bit of pressure off us in our witness for the Lord. Our work is to bear witness by our lives and words. Everything we say or do, in every situation, about every topic, or to every end can bear witness to the Lord. We are sowers of the Good News by our lives and words. Sowing sometimes takes many applications before a seed will settle in and take root. Once we’ve sown, whether the seed is rooted or not, we need to continue watering, fertilizing, and caring for that sown seed, to give it the chance to realize the promise of life it holds.
We can never relinquish the work of evangelism – which, literally translating, is something like “good-newsing”. We “good-news” people by every aspect and facet of our lives, through all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities, and in everything we do or say. As Francis of Assisi is reported to have said, “Evangelize always; if necessary, use words.”
Our work of evangelizing our Personal Mission Field reaches not only to the lost but to our fellow believers as well, who need to be “good-newsed” every day, just as we do. Evangelizing the people in our Personal Mission Field is a process, not an event. Salvation – coming to faith in Jesus – is an event, but it’s an event that is not in our remit. God makes that event come about in His way and time. Our calling is to work the process that can lead to that event, and to rejoice and be faithful and diligent in every opportunity to demonstrate the Kingdom and to sow and cultivate Kingdom seeds to all the people to whom God sends us day by day.
Jesus intends that the whole world should be sowed with the good seed of the Kingdom of God (Matt. 13.24-30, 36-43). We sow – we evangelize – by every aspect of our lives, every moment of our lives, with all the time and strength of our lives. So it’s not like we can decide not to evangelize. The only decision we can make is whether to be faithful in evangelizing or to deny our calling, turn away from our work, and let our Personal Mission Field go to the weeds of neglect and unbelief.
But as we shall see, much can be accomplished by always bearing in mind that while salvation is an event which only God can bring about, evangelism is a glorious, full-time calling in which we sow the seeds of the Kingdom and shine the light of God’s truth and love in everything we do with everyone we meet.
So embrace the process and leave the event in the hands of the Lord.
Here are some activities you can practice and some resources to help you in working your Personal Mission Field.
- First make sure your Personal Mission Field is updated, and you have included in your Personal Mission Field worksheet any new people God has brought into your sphere. Keep your map with you, so you can take it out and pray for the people you’ll be seeing throughout the day.
- Order a copy of our book, Small Stuff. This little book can help to give you a vision of “thinking small” about your calling, so that you see in all the little things you do opportunities for showing and sowing the Kingdom. Order your free copy by clicking here.
- Pray each day for opportunities to “good-news” the believers in your Personal Mission Field, and to encourage them in the process of evangelizing their part of the Lord’s field.
- Remember that God is always working for the salvation of His chosen ones, and He’s doing that through people like you. Spend time in prayer at the end of the day reviewing the work you’ve done and thanking God for each opportunity, and that He is using these to further His Kingdom.
- Order a copy of our book, Restore Us!, and begin praying daily for revival. The more we are revived, the more our will will be gladly submitted to the Lord. Order your free copy of Restore Us! by clicking here. And while you’re at it, order a free copy for your prayer partner, too.
That’s it for this month’s Personal Mission Field Workshop. Until next month, for the Fellowship of Ailbe, this has been T. M. Moore.
We ask the Lord to move and enable many more of our readers to provide for the needs of our ministry. Please seek Him in prayer concerning your part in supporting our work. You can contribute online by using the Contribute button at the website; or you can send a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.