It is easy to be so focused on our evangelistic responsibility that we forget about concern for those converted through us.  It is easy to be so focused on “our responsibility” that we become void of “concern.”  We may evangelize so we can say “we have done our duty,” and then we feel “staying faithful” is, from that moment on, “their responsibility.”  It is as though once we have converted we can “wash our hands” and declare “we have done what we are responsible to do.”  If we are not careful, we reduce life lived in faith to a checklist of jobs to complete.

It is as though we can say, “Baby, we gave you birth.  We have done what God expected us to do.  However, from the moment of birth, you are responsible for yourself” (see 1 Peter 2:1-3).  It is as though spiritual growth is not essential to spiritual survival.  It is as though God is interested in the conversion rate, but not the spiritual survival rate.

Though I surely realize this is a difficult topic to discuss, I doubt Paul would have understood the “convert them and abandon them” philosophy.  He prayed for converts continually (see Philippians 1:3-6; Ephesians 1:15-17), sent representatives to them (see 1 Corinthians 4:17), and visited (see Acts 15:36; 19:21, 22).  No one felt more responsibility to evangelize, but success was stabilizing the converted.  Spiritual development was the goal!

Do not abandon those you bring to Christ.  They need you!  Both evangelize and stabilize!  Someone spiritually stabilized you—and perhaps still do it!

David Chadwell
Jan.16, 2012  *  Fort Smith, AR


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