The soul-winner’s mandate.
Jesus left His church in the world to bring the world to Him. Every believer is called to be an outstanding soul-winner. Soul-winning is the mandate of the church, it is the means by which we usher persons into the kingdom to make them disciples. That mandate must be paramount in the mind and life of believers. In fact it should shape our identity. But what makes us outstanding soul-winners? How do we become successful at winning souls? In the next few blog posts I will be discussing several remarkable characteristics of true soul-winners.
What you see matters.
Jesus saw the crowds and He was ‘moved with compassion’. He described them as broken, lost and in despair. They were directionless, comfortless and helpless. His heart went out to them and He was pained that there were few available who could minister to them in His name. He enjoined His disciples to engage in fervent prayer so that the Father would send more people to help. What do you see when you look at people? Their money, their pride, their sin or their despair, their pains, their lostness, despite their apparent comfort of life? What do you see? The physical poverty, the financial problems, the marital issues, the apparent desperation for help? Or do you see the real poverty of separation from God; the demonic oppression worse than physical hunger; or the lostness and separation from God that is at the root of their marital issues? A soul-winner must see people with God’s eyes. He or she must see their pain, their perdition without God; they must see their absolute need for the gospel irrespective of their natural condition. And when they see, they cannot but act.
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Even the beautiful are lost
Sometimes I walk down the Champs-Élysées, arguably the most famous street in the world. I see the shops, the lights, the crowds milling around, the styles and flair. I see the foreigners thrilled to be finally standing on the Champs Elysees, gazing ahead at and heading for the Arc de Triomphe. I see the ‘beautiful people’ seemingly satisfied with life and themselves. And I see something more, I see their desperation. I see men and women living for the present, struggling to make meaning of the moment, desperate to prove that life is good and I am happy. I see the girls each trying to outdo the other in ‘coolness’ and I can feel the pain of isolation and loneliness. People are hurting, and they are not hurting because mama left or Philippe won’t take my calls anymore. They are hurting because the only One who makes meaning possible is absent from their lives. So no matter how hard they try, wellbeing will always be elusive.
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Seeing lost souls
Behind that veneer of arrogance, behind the abrupt look and haughty gaze is a lost soul. Do you see it? This man walking towards you speaking on one of his five mobile phones might down a bottle of sleeping pills before the week is over. That girl over there has lost count of how many men she has been with in her young life because something is missing. And now she is thinking, maybe I should turn to girls because the boys don’t have what i need, but she will not find it there either. That woman there has known no other man but her husband and now she has just found out that he has been cheating on her for twenty years. The brash young man behind the counter has never slept without a nightmare. Junior has had an easy life, Daddy and Mummy are successful, loving and caring, so why is everything not all right?
All are symptoms of the fallen condition of humanity. And those who appear asymptomatic are even more to be pitied as the abnormal has become normal to them. Our streets the world over are teeming with individuals separated from God and desperately trying to make life work. They do not know the saving power of Jesus Christ. To these all the church is sent. Jesus put it this way:
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
A soul-winnner first and foremost must see the condition of those they are sent to and be moved by it.
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How does one see?
Everyone should see and anyone can see. If you do not, be concerned. If you find yourself indifferent and uninterested in the plight of your fellows, it’s time to pray. Pray, Lord, open my eyes. Let me see people as You see them. And He will do it. May God give us eyes to see.
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