Thursday, March 09, 2006

Genesis 39:1-23; Psalms 59, 60; 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:15; Mark 2:1-12

A leading conductor was once asked, “What is the most difficult ‘chair’ to fill in your orchestra?” You might have expected him to mention the challenge of recruiting the world’s best performers for the leading positions. Surprisingly, he said the most difficult chair to fill is the “second chair!” He knew the value of having musicians who, while not the absolute tops in their instrument, were dedicated to doing the very best they could with the gifts they had been given. After all, an orchestra is made up of a large number of players, and getting the very best performance from each and every member is what makes the difference.

When it comes to witnessing for Christ, the apostle Paul knew something of this “orchestral theory.” In his letter to the Corinthian believers, he said, “I have planted, Apollos watered … but God gave the increase.” He knew that soul-winning is a group effort, not just the domain of a few particularly gifted Christians who know how to “witness.” God uses evangelists to invite people to accept the gospel. Leading up to these conversions, however, there were probably many little kind acts that influenced people to make that final decision. Maybe it’s just giving a friend a lift in your car to a doctor’s appointment. Or, calling someone on the phone to find out how things are going. Or, it could be sitting by a lonely newcomer at church and showing you are genuinely interested in that person. Any one of a number of sincere acts like this could just be that “cup of cold water” that refreshes someone and influences them to eventually profess their faith in Christ.

Finally, Paul wisely cautions us to remember, it is God who “gave the increase.” We can be a genuine link in the witnessing chain, but it is our sovereign Lord who ultimately calls people to his side. The best soul-winning is not a solo performance. It is truly an orchestral event in which many dedicated “second chairs” participate!

Roland Kuniholm

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