Workplace Devotionals

June 8, 2010

Why the Gospel is so Important

Acts 2:1-12

A couple weeks ago was Pentecost, which reminds us of the miraculous event of the disciples receiving the filling of the Holy Spirit.  The sound of the coming of the Holy Spirit was apparently loud enough for the people to hear and come running to see what was happening.  While the filling of the Holy Spirit was a significant event, also very significant was Jews that were in Jerusalem from every nation were able to hear the gospel preached in their language, and hear the good news of Jesus Christ, the beginning of Christianity and the spread of the gospel.  It was a great opportunity for the people to hear the gospel message that we see in verse 38.

The day of Pentecost and the miraculous conversion of 3,000 people as depicted in Acts chapter 2 remind us of the mission that God instilled in us all (Matthew 28:19-20).

The disciples were able to reach many that day, in their own tongues, people of all nations, just as Jesus had described.

In the finance department of the international NGO that I work for, being an internally focused department, we do not have the pleasure of seeing the day to day work at the ground level that the Organization is doing to reach out to the nations.  But it is good to be reminded occasionally and reflect on the fact that the Organization is carrying out the “great commission,” the calling that God has given to all of us as Christians.  The work we do to meet the physical and wholistic needs of people is important and very much a part of being a Christian and fulfilling God’s mission here on earth (see Matthew 25:31-46).  In thinking about the work that our Organization does, sometimes I think that perhaps it would be better to only focus on the physical needs of people, to focus on the food, clothing, shelter, health care, that evangelism is performed well by so many other organizations that we would be most efficient to focus on what we do well, and let others do what they do well.  Maybe focusing on people’s needs is the way to have the highest level of impact of people’s lives, and then people will be able to see Christ simply through our actions.

However, I always come back to the fact, that real, long term change can only be complete when the person’s mind changes well, when their mentality is changed.  And it is here that I again realize the importance of the great commission and why it is great.  Jesus calls us to make disciples, to baptize, to teach them the commands that Jesus has passed down.  Giving food alone, or clothes alone will not change people’s lives they must have a mind change and true change of the mind and heart can be brought by God alone.

Without bringing the message of God, any work that we do would never result in actual sustained change in people lives.  An article by a reporter that had spent significant time in Africa illustrates this point, though the author is not a Christian, he realized that in the places that Christianity had the most influence, were also the places where people’s lives had experienced the most change and were often the safest places to be.

As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God

So, the day of Pentecost and remembering the disciples beginning their mission to bring the gospel to the nations, is a good reminder of why we find it so important to include and protect the right to evangelize in our mission here at our Organization, especially in a time when there is much opposition to the hiring practices of Christian organizations and the relationship to the US government.  Giving out aid alone will never ensure change.  Even if our projects are run perfectly, there are always unstoppable factors such as natural disasters and corrupt governments.  Bringing the gospel is our mission and the only way to ensure real change.

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