My son, proclaim the good news of salvation in Christ to those who don’t know Him. Make sure to rub shoulders with those who don’t believe. Make time to associate with them, with certain groups and individuals that you know you’ll see often. If you don’t tend to this, you’ll end up spending all your time with the household of faith, and you’ll lose a sense of the mission Jesus has given us.
As you explain the gospel to unbelievers, and as you train others to share it, always present salvation as the free gift that it is. Never speak of membership in God’s family as something that is earned, by works, by loyalty, or by zeal. Anchor people¹s assurance of eternal life in the firm foundation that is the promises of God, not in their own subjective analysis of themselves. Direct unbeliever and believer alike back to Jesus, to his death and resurrection, to His final payment for sin and the newness of life that He grants His children. Remind His flock that they are new creations and don’t let them dwell in the past. Allow them to see their fears as opportunities to trust what God says, rather than what they hear and stew about.
Help people to see that their life only makes sense in the context of God’s overarching story. Help them respond to the Caller rather than look inside themselves for the answers and direction they so desperately need and seek in life. And acquaint them with the glorious privilege of being part of Christ¹s bride, the church. Show them that following Christ is a collective enterprise, one in which they need people, and people need them.
As a gifted minister of the Gospel, son, you will be tempted to do all the work of ministry by yourself. But God has called us to something greater. Evaluate your own ministry not by the amount you personally accomplish, but by the fervor with which you devote yourself to the task of equipping others for works of service. As you mature, and as those whom you lead mature, you’ll see increasingly that your life is not your own. You’ll find yourself poured out and somewhat inattentive to your own desires. This is the humility that Jesus seeks it is the humility He demonstrated.
Think small. Less is usually more. In your service to others, seek to concentrate most of your time on relatively few people. Atop this list should be the primary disciples God has granted you: your wife and children. Lead them. Be on guard for them. Don’t leapfrog them to engage in ministry pursuits that sometimes seem more exciting, cutting-edge, or strategic. They need you to be present.
Above all, be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. May God grant you the honor of being an approved workman, one who does not need to be ashamed. Fight the good fight!
Your father in the faith,