The buildup for Easter Sunday is always high in the local church. We all understand the importance of the resurrection and the opportunity we have on this day to proclaim to the world the salvation only found in Jesus. It’s often said that on Easter Sunday there are more lost people who attend church in North America than on any other Sunday during the year. We expect and hope to see more people in our worship services and more people come to saving faith in Christ.
However, when Easter comes and goes without the results we hoped for, the first word that often comes to mind is unsuccessful. While it is disappointing and heartbreaking when we don’t see those we have been praying for and witnessing to come to know Christ, we need to keep the burden for their salvation close to our hearts but refuse to fall into discouragement. In fact, I would ask that you take the opposite attitude and position—be encouraged and stay faithful. Consider these three things:
- Remember – Salvation is God’s work.
Oftentimes when we don’t see the results we hoped for, we put the blame on ourselves and slide into a hole of disappointment. It is always good to spend time evaluating our efforts after a service or event. Ask the question, “How we could improve?” But we need to remember we are the messengers—Jesus is the one who saves.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:8–10 (ESV).
- Pray – God is still working.
Just because Easter has come and gone doesn’t mean the impact of the gospel has ended. There is an urgency to the gospel, but sometimes it takes time for the seeds planted in the hearts of men and women to bear fruit. I remember while in college I had the opportunity to share the gospel on several occasions with a group of guys in my dorm. But in those moments, I never saw one of those guys come to saving faith in Christ. However, several years later, while pastoring in another state, a man stopped by the church and asked to see me. He told the secretary that he had gone to college with a guy named Tim Dowdy, so he just stopped in to see if the name on the church sign was the same guy. I recognized him immediately. After a little catching up, he told me that even though I probably thought none of the guys in the dorm ever really paid attention to the gospel discussed in those gatherings he did. Then he shared the greatest news—he had recently came to trust Christ for his salvation. He told me when he saw my name on the church sign, he wanted to share what Jesus had done in his life.
So, keep praying for the people God has put in your life and in connection with your church. God is still working.
- Don’t quit – Be faithful.
When expectations don’t match reality, it can lead us to another “d” word—despair. That’s why so many pastors feel like leaving the ministry and resigning from their churches on Monday. The unmet expectations and disappointments of Sunday can be overwhelming. Again, we need to remember that God saves. Salvation is God’s work. When we are faithful to be ambassadors for Christ, then we are successful in our mission. We are not responsible for the results. So, remain faithful and don’t give up! God is using you to share the gospel that everyone in the world needs to hear.
“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” John 17:18 (ESV).
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” Romans 10:14–15 (ESV)
Be encouraged! Even though you may not see the evidence now, God is still working
Published April 13, 2023