From time to time, it is important to evaluate what motivates our personal faith and ministry. We are in one of those times. The only way to engage that process of evaluation with integrity is to look at the life of Jesus and those who immediately followed Him to discover what motivated their efforts.
The Lord was motivated by a single desire. He came to find lost people and save them. “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10). It is not popular today to declare anyone lost, sadly even within some parts of the Church. As a result, human options for salvation have been entertained as viable, not the singular option found only in Jesus Christ.
Jesus revealed the narrow path of that salvation. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me“ (John 14:6). The words that jump out to me each time I read that passage are “No one.”
The Early Church, soon after Pentecost, remarked “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The salvation of the lost motivated the Early Church mission and empowered their efforts. No one would allow themselves to be martyred for something that was only just another faith option without eternal consequence.
Paul in his conversation with the Thessalonians revealed a chilling truth about the return of the Lord. “He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about him” (II Thessalonians 1: 7-10). Who and what we believe in has consequences.
To seek out and offer salvation to the lost should be the foundational motivation for all we do in God’s name. That motivation is the essence of God’s love. It was love that motivated the Father to send His Son to die on the Cross to save the lost. It was that love that empowered believers for the last 2,000 years to venture into distant lands in search of those who did not know the Lord.
We need to reconnect with a deep concern for lost souls so that what we do in God’s name will have meaning and purpose. Without that reconnection, we will become distracted and concerned with things here on Earth that we deemed to be important that will matter little in eternity, even things we labeled as a ministry that led us to personal success and recognition, but not to lost souls.