I Confess. I Don't Have It. The Burden.
I've heard it tossed around for years and years (and trust me .. for ME, that means something....). We need a burden for the lost. If we're not burdened for the lost, something's wrong.
Well. Something must be wrong, then. I'm not.
That always bothered me. I've done all the witnessing programs, E.E., F.A.I.T.H, even one using a Billy Graham tract called "Steps to Peace With God", The 4 Spiritual Laws, etc. Lots of them. And I've gone out, witnessed, passed out tracts, etc. We've even gone to Haiti on Witnessing Crusades, twice.
By the way, that's not braggadocio; in 40+ years as an active and involved believer, you eventually come to the place that you've done a bunch of stuff.
So why no burden for the lost?
I think I've finally figured it out. Actually I think God pointed it out to me yesterday. I'm meeting with a few men from my SS class on Monday nights. Their wives are in Peg's home Bible Study that night, so they asked if they could come along and spend some time with me and I said sure. Two of us met a half-dozen weeks last Spring, and we studied the BF&M.
Hey .. I figure folks ought to know what they say it is that they believe.
This fall we're spending 8 weeks (maybe more) going through Ken Hemphills' study course "Serving God .. Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts". It's a wonderful course which I've taught 8 times before in the church, and is the best I've seen in equipping people to do that for which God has gifted them. As I was mulling over what we'd discussed Monday, I hit upon what may be (for me) a real re-orientation of my thinking. Here's what I concluded:
My passion (I don't like calling it a burden, as only God can give burdens ... hence I don't think anyone can tell me what that ought to be)is for God. For Jesus. I want to serve Him. Personally.
He says we can do that.
I've always heard the word "passion" and Jesus linked together. Originally in things like the "Passion Play" and later in the motion picture ... and the thought that what drives the whole thing is Jesus' passion for people .. specifically lost people! That passion, that overwhelming drive, caused Jesus to lay down His carpentry tools and walk out of the shop. I don't think He could have stood the cries of lost souls, across the centuries, any longer. That's what finally hit me the other day.
And HIS passion drives ME.
What also clicked together is that He's told us plainly that He assembled us into the "Body of Christ" as He has seen fit, and did so for what each of us brings to the table. The KJV says it thusly:
Ephesians 4:16: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
We, as "joints", supply mobility to the muscles .. the power .. which comes from on high. And God gifts us for the task to which He appoints us.
WOW. If my passion is to serve God, He'll place the task before me. And He'll gift me for the job. And in my case, that's happened. My passion, my real "burden" if you will, is to see young married people take their relationship with God seriously and let Him reign in their lives.
That's why I teach the Couples for Christ Class at the 9:15 hour at First Baptist Church, Pelham, Alabama. I teach it because I love it, and I love it because God dropped a burden in my heart, and a passion for, those folks.
For a long time in the church, I walked around with guilt feelings because I wasn't burdened the way I'd been told I should be. When I finally figured out that God was chairman of, and the only member on, the Burden Assignment Task Force, the guilt evaporated.
In my opinion, we need preachers to stop telling the congregation what they should have a burden for, and start enabling them to find out what God has gifted them for.
Once they find out, the passion, the burden, will follow.
Let your passion be for God. Don't settle for anything less.