The Great Issue of Our Time

[Jesus] was being carefully watched. Luke 14:1 (NIV)

There is a story about a family who went as pioneer missionaries to an unreached people group. They began the work of evangelism, teaching the Bible, speaking about Jesus Christ, and building relationships—with absolutely no impact. Nobody was converted.

Then after some years, their little boy became seriously ill. They began to pray. They called on God. They longed for a miracle, first for the boy, then for themselves, and then for the tribal people who were all so concerned. If God healed the boy, then they would know the gospel is true.

They kept praying, but the boy got weaker, and then he died. The parents buried the boy, and began to make plans to leave. What would be the point of staying? There was no way in the world that anybody would be converted to worship the God who had allowed their boy to die.

A few days later, the tribal chief arrived at the missionary’s home. “Our whole village would like to believe in Jesus Christ,” he said. The missionaries were absolutely astonished. They had been working for years and not a single person had come to Christ. Now the tribal chief says that the whole village wants to come to Christ. Why?

“Many in our tribe have lost children. We have been watching you. And we have seen that you have something that we do not have.” This is the great issue of our time. Do Christians have something others do not have? Is there a difference when it comes to the painful realities of life?

What role did “watching” play in your coming to faith?

Colin Smith (@PastorColinS) is senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition.

Date Posted: Jun 3rd, 2017