Mark your calendars: January 12, 2020. It will prove an important date for many people. Research suggests 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions give up on them by that date. About half of all New Year’s resolutions revolve around health issues (eating less, getting more exercise, etc.). Our goals are seldom reached simply because we lack personal discipline. I am not trying to be critical or harsh, just truthful. Anyone who has ever made a resolution can identify with those who “give up.” What we began with great enthusiasm now lies in the heap of the unfinished.
The disciples gathered around as the Lord shared some last instructions just before His Ascension. A few simple words, and He was gone and a new era began.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. (Acts1:8-9, ESV)
I wonder if Peter turned to his companions and said, “Boys, we’ve got a job to do.” Nearly 2000 years later, we are still about the task. Why? The answer is simple, the task is unfinished. As long as there are those who need our witness in Jerusalem we can’t quit. As long inhabitants of our Judea remain in darkness the task is unfinished. As long as the people of Samaria have not heard a clear presentation of the gospel the mission is uncompleted. And as long as men, women, boys and girls in the ends of the earth do not proclaim Him as Lord and Savior, the task rests unfinished.
That small band of men grew exponentially in the ensuing years as the Church put its shoulder to the task. Undaunted through the winds of adversity and persecution, the flame of the gospel spread across the known world and to the ends of the earth. They did not quit. The flaming arrows of the evil one came to naught as the Church moved forward.
The gospel moved from Asia Minor to Europe, and its flame became a mere flicker. Then a monk in Germany tacked his theses to a monastery door and the gospel’s flame once more burned bright. It was transported to the new world and was the basis for the foundations of the new country, eventually called the United States of America.
And in 1935, a small fledgling denomination sent out its first missionary to the ends of the earth and we have not turned back. We have not quit. Many January 12s have come and gone and we are still about the task. Why? It is simple…the task is unfinished. As long as it is unfinished, we will keep on praying, sending, and going.