Dear friends, in the last issue we saw that although the current chastisement of the world is sure to worsen and in turn bring about the end of age (Matthew 24), yet God is dealing patiently with mankind. In spite of the increase in evil, the predicted large-scale destruction has not yet struck the world till today; the only reason being that God is still leading souls to repent. How soon the end of age will come depends on the number that God has in mind of all those who will repent of their sinfulness and start living holy lives. (2 Peter 3:11).
Now, leading people to repent and to live holy lives is very much dependent on the preaching of the Good News. This means that the end of age is linked to the preaching of the Gospel to as many people as possible; and that is what Jesus actually said… And this Good News about the Kingdom will be preached through all the world for a witness to all people; and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14). Isn’t that what we are seeing around today? More and more people are being led by God to repentance and they in turn are being sent out to spread the Good News and make disciples everywhere. As St. Paul wrote… God uses us to make the knowledge about Christ spread everywhere like a sweet fragrance. For we are like a sweet-smelling incense offered by Christ to God, which spreads among those who are being saved and those who are being lost. (2 Corinthians 2:14-15). What about you and me? Are we willing to spread the fragrance of Christ in order to make that Day come soon?
Often people feel the call of God within themselves to help in the spread of the Gospel. They know very well that God wants to use them; but then they back out simply because they feel they are incapable of fulfilling the task. In a way, they are right; because we can never do it on our own. It is God who gives us the capacity to do it. St. Paul wrote… Who, then, is capable for such a task? (2 Corinthians 2:16). There is nothing in us that allows us to claim that we are capable of doing this work. The capacity we have comes from God; it is He who made us capable... (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).
When God calls a person to spread the Good News, He thinks big and He does big things through that person. That is why Jesus said to the disciples… Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples… (Matthew 28:19). Taking the Gospel to the ends of the world was the biggest challenge at that time. There were no trains, flights, etc. to go to places during his time. There was no internet to communicate, no Zoom app to conduct meetings. There were only ships, scrolls, writing ink and pen. And yet God made it possible for the Gospel to spread everywhere through the apostles and other followers of Christ. For the Gospel to spread as far as Rome was unthinkable at that time. Yet God did it through Paul, the very person who used to persecute Christians at one time.
If God could accomplish so much through the early Christians at that time, think of the extent to which He can use us in the modern world with all the science and technology at our disposal. If only we dared to believe that He is a God who thinks big and does big things through those whom He has sent to spread the fragrance of Christ. Like Paul, we would have said with confidence… I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me. (Philippians 4:13).
Today, if we are not allowing the fragrance of Christ to spread through us in the big way that God has in mind, it is mainly because we are not giving ourselves entirely to Him to be used for this purpose. St. Paul writes… Give yourselves completely to the Lord's service without any reservation. (1 Corinthians 7:35).
On one occasion, Jesus sent out seventy-two men to go ahead of him to every town and place where he himself was about to go. (Luke 10:1). The fact that he trained so many indicates how urgent it was for Him that the Good News reaches out to as many people as possible. The mission was successful and everyone returned with great joy. This was possible because everyone gave themselves entirely to the Lord’s service. However, just before sending them out, there is an interesting thing that happened. Jesus called two men to follow Him. But both of them didn’t understand the urgency of the Lord’s call. They wanted to follow Jesus but then they had a few reservations. The first one said, "Sir, first let me go back and bury my father." Jesus answered, "Let the dead bury their own dead. You go and proclaim the Kingdom of God." Someone else said, "I will follow you, sir; but first let me go and say good-bye to my family." Jesus said to him, "Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:59-62). The answer that Jesus gave to both only indicates that the preaching of the Good News is very urgent to God. Because in His mind is this one thought: More the spread of the Gospel, more will be the souls that repent and become holy; and closer will be the end of age. But it all depends on how willing we are to offer ourselves to the Lord’s service without any reservations.
Another reason why we fail to spread the fragrance of Christ everywhere is that we tend to settle down into a comfort zone. That is when God makes use of troubles – because He somehow wants to do the big thing that He has in mind. If you look into the history of the early Church, the fragrance of Christ was initially confined only within the walls of Jerusalem. But when the trouble came in the form of Stephen’s martyrdom, the message of Christ began to spread throughout the provinces of Judea and Samaria. (Acts 8:1, 4). That was the big thing that God had in mind.
Therefore, when we know that it is God who has given us this work to do, we will not be discouraged even if troubles come our way. (2 Corinthians 4:1). We will know that He has something big in mind and He is definitely going to make it happen.
Finally, in order to make the Day of the Lord come very soon, we only need to make up our minds to help in whatever way we can to spread the fragrance of Christ. God is only waiting for us to give ourselves to Him completely without any reservations. As the Psalmist wrote… Give yourself to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will help you. (Psalms 37:5).