We all want to be remembered for something. Deep down, nobody wants to waste his life, although many people end up doing just that.
Some waste their lives amassing wealth and material goods. Some desire fame, power, and the praise of men. Others spend a lifetime in fearful worship of false gods, somehow hoping to appease their wrath. Still others abandon any hope of an afterlife and live solely for whatever pleasure this world can offer them today.
Of course, all of these people die, and what do they leave behind? Nothing. Nothing, that is, of lasting impact—only the fading memory of a life spent on themselves.
If I’m remembered for anything when I die, I want it to be this: that I had a heart and life which burned with the love and power of the Holy Spirit; a heart afire with love for God and for people; a message aflame with power to convict the souls of men and win them to Christ. That is my reason for living! That is my purpose in being an evangelist! And that, more than anything, is what I wish to communicate to you, my fellow evangelists.
A Heart that Burns with Purity
If there’s anything the church of Jesus Christ needs today, it’s purity—a willingness to take a stand for righteousness regardless of the cost. In response to Israel’s unfaithfulness, the Lord said: “If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you!” (Jeremiah 15:19).
A Heart that Burns with Passion
God has given His church a job—to impact the whole world for Jesus Christ. But if the task is to be accomplished, we must eliminate apathy and passivity from our lives. As the Body of Christ, both individually and collectively, we must cultivate not passivity, but passion—passion for the Lord Jesus Christ, and passion for the lost multitudes.
One day when the Lord’s disciples were worrying about food, He told them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and finish His work” (John 4:34). Because of His love for the Father, Jesus had a passion to do His will and His work. Nothing else mattered by comparison. Practically speaking, Christ’s passion for His Father’s will translated into compassion for the multitudes. Matthew 9:36 says that when Jesus saw the multitudes, “He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (NIV).
The Lord has given me a burning heart for the confused, lost masses of this world. Just look at the universal pain and suffering of human beings. It’s easy to see why the Lord Jesus likened them to sheep without a shepherd.
A Heart that Burns with Purpose
Once you’ve heard the command of God to preach the Gospel, your life can never again be without purpose. I think back to when I was a teenager, first sensing the call of God on my life. I was just starting out, completely unknown, just a kid dreaming that the Lord would use me. In boarding school we used to sing an old hymn which said, “O, Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee till the end, and hope to follow duly my Master and my Friend.” The Holy Spirit drove that hymn into my heart, and I sang it so sincerely that to this day I can hardly quote it without coming close to tears.
My life has one purpose: I am committed to fulfilling that promise to serve Jesus to the very end. The dream that the Lord laid on my heart as a teenager is a dream that has never died.
Who would have thought that God would take a scruffy little Argentine boy like me and put a desire in his heart to preach to multitudes? Yet that is exactly what God did in my life.
You may look at your own ministry and say, “I’ll never get beyond the borders of my own village, town, or country.” That may be true, if that is God’s place for you. But never limit God, and never be afraid to dream great dreams. You can be certain that God’s purpose for you is to glorify Himself through winning hungry souls to Jesus Christ.
No one wants to waste his life. Thank God, we don’t have to. Let other people do what they must do. Let other people do whatever God has called them to do. But we, brother and sister evangelists, must do what God has called us to do. And we’ve been called to win souls to God’s eternal kingdom through preaching the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is an excerpt of a challenge given by Luis Palau at the Amsterdam ’86 International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists, hosted by the Billy Graham Association.
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