|Photo by: pat138241|
Let’s say you went to your field and labored ten years without seeing even one soul saved. In your eleventh year of spreading the gospel, a young person trusts Christ. Finally! You labor two years more, and this young person’s mother comes to the Lord. What a blessing! Now, you have two saved people, some unbelievers, and your family in church. It’s not a crowd, but it’s a start. Young Person’s mother starts witnessing. She owns a small shop in the town and knows all her neighbors. People are marveling over the change in her life.
You’re the missionary. You’ve been faithful to the best of your ability for twelve years, and you have only won two people to the Lord—a teen and his mother.*
How does God see this picture? What does He think of your labors?
- For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).
If you were to spread the gospel for those same twelve years and only see Young Person saved, would his soul be worth the thousands of dollars of missions money and your work, sweat, prayers, and tears?
Yes! Yes! Yes!
A soul—one soul—saved from eternal damnation and going to heaven is worth everything you could possibly give in service to our Holy God.
Even if Young Person’s witnessing mother hadn’t gotten saved in those twelve years—which she did—Young Person by himself would still be worth all your effort. And, what about those not yet saved children, women, and two men who faithfully come to your church? Even though they haven’t accepted Christ, haven’t you been sharing the gospel with them week after week? (You don’t have their blood on your hands. Acts 20:26-27) How about those to whom you’ve witnessed, those thousands who’ve received gospel tracts? They know something of Christ because of your efforts.
Would Jesus have died for one person? Yes.
Did He die to pay the price for every single person’s sins? Yes. (1 John 2:2)
Did Jesus die for everyone in the whole world? Yes. (John 3:16)
So, what’s the value of a soul?
The Infinite Son of God, Someone so great that there’s no way we can even begin to understand His greatness, the One Who planned it all and created it all, He’s the One Who loves every single person so much that He gave His life for us.
Each human being is made in the image of God. Each person has the unique capacity within him to be able to cry out to God, to have a relationship with God. Each can know God personally.
Sometimes, our missionary perspective needs tweaking. (I know mine does.)
We know from the Bible that God wants to save every single person in the world. Here are just a sampling of the Scriptures on this important subject:
- The Lord . . . is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (from 2 Peter 3:9b).
- The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe (John 1:7).
- That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9).
- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16-17)
- It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me (John 6:45).
- And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me (John 12:32).
- For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men (Titus 2:11).
Any time someone trusts Christ is a reason for rejoicing. If it’s one person in Europe, East Asia, or Greenland, or twenty in a campaign in the Philippines or Panama, every single soul is valuable and precious to God. (Luke 15:7)
Jesus died for that one soul. Just as He died for you and me, He died so that one—or twenty—could be saved. He’s not willing that any should perish!
So the next time you are discouraged and see your work as a “little” work, remember that God is using you to reach the lost.
- He asks one thing of you: that you be found faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:2)
- He equips you for the task. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
- He will never leave you. (Hebrews 13:5)
- He is the Provider of the Way to God. (Matthew 7:13-14)
- He’s the One who gives fruit. (1 Corinthians 3:7)
I love what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:5-11, Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
We are labourers together with God. He gives the increase. Praise Him!
What’s the value of one soul?
Our life in service.
* The illustration is completely fictitious.