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Gospel Advance Snail Style, I can plod!

The answer to our countries, and for that matter, the world's dilemma is spiritual not political. And it must start in our hearts, then our homes, then our communities and so on so forth. It's a bottom up, grass roots campaign. Charles Spurgeon once asked a question, “How did the snail reach the ark?” The answer is by perseverance it did so. In much the same way the gospel advances.

Jesus really did come. We really do have good news for the world. The kingdom of God really is within you (Luke 17:20) Let's bend that reality out, and then hope against hope for slow progress. At the same time let’s hope that Jesus comes back soon. You can do both. Look at the disciples. They were looking for Jesus return everyday, all the while planting churches, training up leaders, preaching, proclaiming and teaching of Christ. And now we are 2000 yrs later and there has been some progress.

There are believers in many places there were not believers before, there are churches in many places there were not churches before. We have hospitals, medicines, new and better ways to teach and to learn and so many other things. The gospel and all the implications of the gospel has done much good in the world. But there is still work to be done. How do I know this? Because Jesus hasn't returned yet.

So let's keep looking and hoping Jesus will return any day to end all this pain and sorrow that is an awful reality and consequence of sin in the world. But until than let's keep working and praying like Jesus has actually sent us on a mission into the world (Matt. 28:19-20)

Let’s spread the message ‘round, far as the curse is found. Joy to the world the Lord has come. Don’t you feel it when you sing that song. My question is, do you really believe it.

My friends, this worlds problems should not be a surprise. We (his disciples) are told to expect problems, that the world will be messed up. Jesus told his very first disciples that there will be wars and rumors of wars (Matt. 24) Paul told Timothy that in the last days things will be difficult (2 Tim. 3). Do you think it is somehow supposed to be different for us?

Come on believers. Gird up your loins. We are in a spiritual battle.

We are told to go into the world with the good news of who Jesus is as Lord and Savior, not sit around and complain about all the problems. How can we sit around and complain about all the problems when we are told to expect them. Yes. I understand pointing out the inconsistent and erroneous thinking of unbelievers and how it can show them their sin and their need for Christ but how can we act surprised. Jesus warned us for a reason.

Yet, more important than the warnings of Jesus to his disciples back then and therefor to us down through the ages is the most important reality that we will be victorious.

The Bible says one day "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)

We are fighting a battle we already know we have won. Let's fight like victors. I know it looks like we are underdogs. I know it looks like we have lost a few battles. But we have won the war. Therefore we can fight on our knees in prayer. We can fight to know Jesus more and share him with those in our home and in our communities and in the world.

We can do this because we want to. If indeed you are born again and have been given a new heart with new desires. This is indeed what you yearn for. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)

And we can do this because we have been commanded to. This is God’s mission in the world. How many times do we get sidetracked, caught in our own little things, and we are like, “hey God, come help me with what I am doing...” But how joyous is it to be involved intimately with what God is actually doing. So we can pray with all earnestness as the Puritans used to pray, “Lord command what thou will, but oh Lord I pray with everything in me that you would grant in me and in this world what you have commanded”

The Lord commanded two of every animal to come to his ark. It probably took a few of them a little longer to travel. Not sure how it all worked. I know God has likewise commanded us to make disciples of all nations. And no that is not countries. The word for “nations” there is “ethne” which means ethnic group. And yes, there are over 13,000 ethnic groups in the world. With disciples from every nation the world might look a little different. I know heaven will. Not sure how it is all going to work. I know he has commanded us to do so.

I will end with this story:

William Carey was a missionary in India. He began his barrier-breaking work in 1798 with enthusiasm. He built cultural connections where nobody had before. He learned indigenous languages, wrote and printed grammars and dictionaries, and translated Bibles.

But in a single day, March 11, 1812, the years of work vanished. A fire in Carey’s print shop consumed his entire library, his completed Sanskrit dictionary, part of his Bengal dictionary, two grammar books, and ten translations of the Bible. Also lost were a large supply of English paper, dictionaries, deeds, and account books. Seventeen years of work were taken away. The core accomplishments of the mission were just gone.

Years earlier, William Carey tried to explain to his skeptical father that he had something constructive to do in far-away India. No one had done this kind of work before. He couldn’t tell his father at that time that he could practice medicine, because he wasn’t a doctor. Couldn’t say that he’d serve India’s political needs, because he had no skill in civil affairs. Carey told his father an ordinary thing that was rooted in his personal ordinariness. He said of himself: “I can plod.”

After the fire Carey knew what needed to be done. Despite the heartache and discouragement, he knew that he and his fellow-workers could retrace their steps and start with page one of the dictionary, the grammars, and the Bible translations. Page two after that. And the trajectory was set. Carey said he believed that it’s easier to walk a road the second time–and that is just what they did. It took years, but he recreated what the fire had stolen. By the end of Carey’s life, the Bible had been produced in whole or in part in forty-four different languages.

He could plod, and he did plod. One foot in front of the other; one page after another.

Hardly any of us would list in our credentials: I can plod. No one in a job interview today, when asked about his or her capabilities would say to the boss: “Well, I can plod.” The word sounds a bit thick and ugly even when we say it.

But if there is one thing we can do in this world. It is plod. Plod on my brothers and sisters for Christ. Expect difficulties, expect opposition but also expect victory. Plod on.

If there is at least one animal we may need to emulate in this, it might be the snail, for it might take a little longer than we expect. But be assured, if God is for us, who can (successfully) be against us.

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