It is the great business of every Christian to save souls. People complain that they do not know how to take hold of this matter. Why, the reason is plain enough; they have never studied it. They have never taken the proper pains to qualify themselves for the work. If you do not make it a matter of study, how you may successfully act in building up the kingdom of Christ, you are acting a very wicked and absurd part as a Christian.
God uses prepared vessels, no substitute. God is not looking for a rocket scientist, he's looking for those with a mind, and then he will finish the rest. It's like, 'God, here I am, send me,' and He will do the rest. He will prepare you. He will provide for your preparation. One thing I have seen in all my years of travel all over the world and in teaching and in proclaiming the Gospel, whoever is hungry for the word, God will break every barrier to get to that person. And who wants to know God, God will make Himself available to that person - somewhere somehow. The problem the church is having today is we have so many unprepared vessels in the church, and it's showing everywhere.
Religious laws, in all the major religious traditions, have both a letter and a spirit. As I understand the words and example of Jesus, the spirit of the law is all-important whereas the letter, while useful becomes lifeless and deadly without it. In accord with this distinction a yearning to worship on wilderness ridges or beside rivers rather than in churches could legitimately be called evangelical if your words or deeds harmonize with the example of Jesus, you are evangelical in spirit whether you claim to be or not. When the non-Christian Ambrose Bierce wrote, War is the means by which Americans learn geography, his words are aimed at the same antiwar end as Blessed are the peacemakers.
Introverted seekers need introverted evangelists. It's not that extroverts can't communicate the gospel, either verbally or nonverbally, in ways that introverts find appealing, it's that introverted seekers need to know and see that it's possible to lead the Christian life as themselves. It's imperative for them to understand that becoming a Christian is not tantamount with becoming an extrovert.
The verbal tool of exploring mystery together is not confrontation or preaching but dialogue. We subject ourselves to the same questions we pose to others, and as we traverse them together, we may arrive at surprising conclusions we could never have reached when simply trying to defeat one another's logic. Our questions are open ended, granting the other person the freedom to respond or not to respond. The questions stick with us, even haunt us, long after we ask them, and we await insight together. The process is more important than an immediate decision.
Do you not know that God entrusted you with that money (all above what buys necessities for your families) to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to help the stranger, the widow, the fatherless; and, indeed, as far as it will go, to relieve the wants of all mankind? How can you, how dare you, defraud the Lord, by applying it to any other purpose?
God is not glorified when we keep for ourselves (no matter how thankfully) what we ought to be using to alleviate the misery of unevangelized, uneducated, unmedicated, and unfed millions. The evidence that many professing Christians have been deceived by this doctrine is how little they give and how much they own. God has prospered them. And by an almost irresistible law of consumer culture (baptized by a doctrine of health, wealth, and prosperity) they have bought bigger (and more) houses, newer (and more) cars, fancier (and more) clothes, better (and more) meat, and all manner of trinkets and gadgets and containers and devices and equipment to make life more fun. They will object: Does not the Old Testament promise that God will prosper his people? Indeed! God increases our yield, so that by giving we can prove our yield is not our god. God does not prosper a man's business so that he can move from a Ford to a Cadillac. God prospers a business so that 17,000 unreached people can be reached with the gospel. He prospers the business so that 12 percent of the world's population can move a step back from the precipice of starvation.
What the gods are supposed to be, what the priests are commissioned to say, is not a sensational secret like what those running messengers of the Gospel had to say. Nobody else except those messengers has any Gospel; nobody else has any good news; for the simple reason that nobody else has any news.Those runners gather impetus as they run. Ages afterwards they still speak as if something had just happened. Theyhave not lost the speed and momentum of messengers; they have hardly lost, as it were, the wild eyes of witnesses. In the Catholic Church, which is the cohort of the message, there are still those headlong acts of holiness that speak of something rapid and recent; a self-sacrifice that startles the world like a suicide. But it is not a suicide; it is not pessimistic; it is still as optimistic as St. Francis of the flowers and birds. It is newer in spirit than the newest schools of thought; and it is almost certainly on the eve of new triumphs. For these men serve a mother who seems to grow more beautiful as new generations rise up and call her blessed. We might sometimes fancy that the Church grows younger as the world grows old.
The more faithful preachers are to the Word of God in their preaching, the more liable they are to the charge of hypocrisy. Why? Because the more faithful people are to the Word of God the higher the message is that they will preach. The higher the message, the further they will be from obeying themselves.