In the mid-1800s, a ‘Help Wanted’ poster appeared in St. Joseph, Mo., looking for young men to deliver messages via a service known as the Pony Express. The ad required a rider to be able to travel horseback in 10 days or less from St. Joseph, Mo. to California, a distance by a quick Google search of 1,800 miles. The preferred candidates, according to the ad, were “young, skinny, wiry fellows not over 18, expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.”
Seems like a lot to ask to deliver a message, that is unless the message is one that has eternity at stake.
As followers of Jesus Christ we have a more urgent plea for an even greater need than Pony Express riders. We need an entire army of Kentucky Baptists men, women, boys and girls who will deliver the saving message of the gospel to the nearly 3,600,000 Kentuckians who do not attend any church on Sunday morning. We, too, have qualifications for those who will carry this message:
1. They must be saved. We cannot transfer what we do not have—so those who carry the gospel must be those who have been transformed by the gospel. Are you saved? Is there a time in your life when you recognized and took responsibility for personal sin, believed that Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection was for you and turned from your sin and placed your faith in Christ? If so, then you meet qualification No. 1.
2. They must be willing to suffer embarrassment. Unlike the Pony Express riders who were likely viewed with some degree of admiration from their peers, those who volunteer as witnesses for Christ may not always be well received and may even suffer embarrassment. Those who make it their daily aim to share Jesus with people who are lost without Christ will be asked questions that they do not know how to answer and may even occasionally receive sneers from those with whom they attempt to share the good news. Are you willing to suffer potential embarrassment for Jesus? If so, then you meet qualification No. 2.
3. They must surrender themselves to God as a witness. In Romans 12:1, the Apostle Paul exhorts followers of Christ, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Those whose lives have the greatest impact for Christ are those who have given themselves over to Jesus and seek to live a daily surrendered life to Him. Are you saved, willing to suffer embarrassment and surrendered to Jesus? If so, then you qualify as a potential soul-winner for Christ.
On any given Sunday there are approximately 195,000 people attending worship services in Kentucky Baptist churches across the commonwealth. If each of us will ask God to put one person on our heart, pray daily for the soul of that one, invite them to attend church with them as our guest, share our story of how Jesus brought us from death to life and attempt to share the gospel with that one, then we will likely see a mighty move of God in our state.
Will you join me by praying and asking God to use you today to reach out to a lost soul for Christ?
Todd Gray is executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.