I have struggled with witnessing not to strangers and the unchurched but to my own extended family who are not Believers. I’ve received many words of support from you reassuring me God will give me many opportunities to do his work and that my one failure does not doom me to fail all of the time. Indeed, that is good news and it helped to lift the heavy yoke I thought bore down on my shoulders.
Furthermore, during the membership seminar Jill and I attended at church last weekend, our Leader told us of his ease in talking about God with non-believers. To evangelize is his favorite thing to do, he said. However, he also confessed to his own discomfort dealing with others’ grief, weeping and emotional pain, and he is grateful God gives all his people different strengths so that they may minister to those in need according to their unique gifts for ministry.
This too, lightened the burden of my yoke; I am eager and well equipped to minister to the sad, the grieving, the tearful and the depressed. That is my gift. That is how I do God’s work. That is why I’ve been called to the Stephen Ministry, I realize now. While I also know that to spread the Gospel is my duty, it is not my only or most important calling. Today I understand that within my brotherhood of Christians I am blessed with people who have strength where I am weak, and working together we can take care of many according to their needs and our strengths.
The other day I read Matthew 20:1-28 which recalls the wonderful story Jesus told of the landowner who hired men to work in his vineyard, paying each the same wage no matter how long or short a time he may have worked. Jesus ended the story with (verse 16) “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
What this tells me is that salvation is the same for all of us who work for God; none are more saved or less saved than others because of how much or how little work they do in God’s name, as long as each worked with a pure heart and according to the best of his ability. There is no ranking of men in Heaven; each is loved as much as the other in reward for having answered the call of the Lord.
That is unconditional love. It just doesn’t get any better than that.