Sometimes it takes a trip to the desert to find clarity. That’s just what I found last week at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. While planning for the new Sunday School year, I’ve sought God’s direction in how and where to lead that ministry. For weeks leading up to the trip, God’s been impressing upon me the need for our classes to focus on what it means to carry out the Great Commission at Second Baptist Church. I’ve been working on ideas to train and promote evangelism through our classes.
But God had something deeper for me in Phoenix. Whether it was an intentional focus of the speakers or whether it was just my spiritual ears being attuned to what God was trying to teach me, it seemed as if every preacher on stage exhorted us as pastors to lead by example in evangelism. They urged that if we desired for our churches to take seriously their commitment to the Great Commission, we first must take it seriously in our own personal lives. After three days of beautiful, triple digit heat in the Valley of the Sun, I was ready for a deeper commitment to personal evangelism.
The day after I returned to West Tennessee, I opened my Bible to Ezekiel 33:1-9. What I read confirmed God’s desire for me to not leave my motivation in the desert. In this passage, God speaks of a watchman whose duty it is to blow his trumpet and warn the people of coming danger. If the watchman is faithful in blowing his trumpet but the people do not heed his warning, then the peoples’ blood is on their own hands. But if the watchman does not blow his trumpet, if he does not warn the people and they have no opportunity to make the choice of listening to him or not, then their blood is on the hands of the watchman. God warns Ezekiel, whom He’s called as a watchman over Israel, to be faithful in warning the people of the coming judgement of the Lord.
Oh, how God’s Word pierces the very heart of this pastor. There is a coming judgement. There is a coming danger in the wrath of God. There is an eternity of pain and suffering awaiting those who do not call on the name of Jesus. And there are thousands of people in my community that are completely unaware of it. I can see it coming. Every Christian sees it coming, and we have been silent for too long. For too long we have simply praised the Lord that we are saved and prayed that people will find salvation on their own. It’s time to pick up our trumpets and warn the people. It’s time to share the gospel.
There are many excuses for not sharing the gospel, though there’s not a single good one. Even as a pastor, I’ve made many of the excuses myself. Sometimes I simply don’t think people will respond. And there may be a good chance that they won’t respond. But that’s not for me to judge. The people weren’t going to listen to Ezekiel. They weren't going to heed his warnings. In fact, God revealed to him in Chapter 3 that he will warn them and they will not listen. But God still demanded Ezekiel’s obedience in blowing the trumpet, to at lease give them a chance of salvation.
Is your trumpet silent? I’m grateful for what God has shown me this past week. I praise God for a senior pastor and staff willing to take our responsibility as watchmen seriously. Each week we as a staff will hold each other accountable for sharing our faith. We will expect one another to have the courage and the compassion to witness to the lost. We will warn the people. We will blow our trumpets. I urge you to blow yours, too.