Problems arise in any endeavor when we forget the substance of our work. In the Lord, our work is presenting the gospel to as many people as possible. All the Lord has ever asked us to do is “plant” and “water.” It is His part of the work to “give the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).
Our work would remain the same even if God told us before we started that no one would listen to us. In fact, there have been times when God did send His servants to preach and told them in advance that the message would be rejected. Our work is like that of the “watchman” who keep on telling others of the Lord until there is no one left to tell (Ezekiel 33:1-9; Isaiah 6:11-12). The effectiveness of our work is to be measured not in terms of positive response to the gospel, but in terms of how much seed has been sown. If we care to set goals, these goals relate to the work that is ours to do and are worded in terms of the amount of seed sown. For example, an appropriate goal might be to ask, before the year is over, at least ten persons if they will study the Bible. We would not measure the effectiveness of the Post Office by how many people respond favorably to their mail. The mailman is merely a messenger!
Remember that God will bless our efforts. If we keep focused on what it is the Lord wants us to do, He will bless us. If we sow “bountifully,” God is able to make us have an “abundance” for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:6-11). We need to be conscious that we are participating in the Lord’s work. Our evangelism efforts will greatly improve by us praying that God will open doors of opportunity for us to do His work (Colossians 4:2-4; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2).
Much of our discouragement in evangelism is unnecessary. Admittedly, it is hard not to be discouraged by our own seeming inability to teach the gospel effectively. It is hard not to be defeated by the rejection of the gospel by al- most everyone we meet. Once we recognize the work the Lord has given us to do, we will see that He has never asked us to do anything that we cannot do. We cannot determine what others will do with the gospel, but we can see that they are presented with the choice (Jeremiah 1:17).