This morning as I was lying in bed in that semi-slumber state, the Lord began speaking to my heart. I became alarmingly aware of what I can only describe as a “passive passion” which had taken hold of me. What once moved me to tears now finds me simply accepting as the status quo without igniting my passion.
I got up, poured my first cup of coffee, and began scanning my email with this same feeling that somehow the fiery burning in my heart had been put on the back burner to simmer. One of the first emails I opened was a message by David Wilkerson shared by a dear friend of mine. Please allow me to share his message with you …
As I walked up Broadway during rush hour and looked into the faces of the passing crowds, a thought struck my soul like a thunderclap: “Almost every person passing by is going to hell.”
I realize this may come across as harsh or presumptuous. You might think, “Surely some of those passersby know the Lord. Certainly many in that massive crowd had seen or experienced religion of some kind.”
With every block I walked, I was hit again and again with the thought: “They’re lost. They’re going to spend eternity without Jesus!” Finally, I tried comforting myself with the thought, “But our church has seen thousands of people converted. Times Square Church is one of the largest congregations in New York City.”
Still, something nagged at my soul. I had to acknowledge before the Lord, “Oh, Father, I don’t have the burden I once had. I don’t weep the way I did when I first came to New York City!”
In 1958, Gwen and I were living in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, a town of around 1,500. In those days, I would walk into the woods near our home and weep for hours over the souls in New York. I owned a little green Chevrolet, and each week as I drove to the city to minister, I wept during the entire three-hour drive.
Today I preach in one of the most beautiful theaters in the world, the historic Mark Hellinger Theatre. Yet, I wonder how many in our congregation and how many reading this feel the way I felt walking up Broadway. I had to stop and ask myself: “How long has it been since you wept for the lost? Do you still have the Lord’s burden to reach them with the gospel?”
Are you able to work alongside your colleagues, greet your neighbors, talk to your unsaved family members and never once be concerned for their souls? Is your mind occupied with simply surviving — providing for your family? Are you no longer burdened, witnessing, reaching out to the lost and dying world?
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalms 126:5-6).
BROADWAY DURING RUSH HOUR
by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]
(c)2012 World Challenge, Inc.
God is obviously speaking, drawing me back to the place where that burning passion for the lost drives everything I do, everywhere I go, every word I speak.
But, what about you? Is the desire to see the lost find the way of salvation through Jesus Christ your number one passion in life? Do you grieve when you see people you know headed down the wide path to a Christless eternity? Do you have a passive passion when it comes to weeping for the lost and sharing the Lord’s burden to reach them with the Gospel?
What grieves me more this morning is that I know I’m not alone. The Body of Christ is distracted while 161 people enter eternity every 60 seconds … many without the knowledge of the precious gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
Father, forgive us—forgive ME! Your church, the Body of Christ, has lost much of its fiery zeal for the lost while allowing the doctrinal disputes, programs and platforms, politics and positions in the church to bring distraction and lure us away from our mission. Restore in us that burning passion for the lost as we seek to do Your will, to fulfill Your purposes, and to pick up our cross and follow Your lead as we go into all the world (both near and far) and preach the gospel to every creature. Forgive our passive passion and reignite the flame that we’ve allowed to wane. That Jesus might be glorified and His name exalted, we pray … amen!
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Rom 12:11 NIV)
© Jan Ross
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