Jesus Christ did not say – Go and save souls (the salvation of souls is the supernatural work of God), but – “Go and teach,” i.e., disciple, “all nations,” and you cannot make disciples unless you are a disciple yourself. When the disciples came back from their first mission they were filled with joy because the devils were subject to them, and Jesus said – Don’t rejoice in successful service; the great secret of joy is that you are rightly related to Me. The great essential of the missionary is that he remains true to the call of God, and realizes that his one purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus. There is a passion for souls that does not spring from God, but from the desire to make converts to our point of view.
The challenge to the missionary does not come on the line that people are difficult to get saved, that backsliders are difficult to reclaim, that there is a wadge of callous indifference; but along the line of his own personal relationship to Jesus Christ. “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” Our Lord puts that question steadily, it faces us in every individual case we meet. The one great challenge is – Do I know my Risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit? Am I wise enough in God’s sight, and foolish enough according to the world, to bank on what Jesus Christ has said, or am I abandoning the great supernatural position, which is the only call for a missionary, viz., boundless confidence in Christ Jesus? If I take up any other method I depart altogether from the methods laid down by Our Lord – “All power is given unto Me . . , therefore go ye.”
Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 12-14; 2 Timothy 1