FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
ONE VERSUS NINETY-NINE
November 3, 2011
Today’s reading: Luke 15:1-10
Today’s parables about the lost sheep and the lost coin teach us one important point: God is concerned about the lost and will go all out to bring that person back. Further, there will be great rejoicing in heaven whenever that lost person is found and brought back.
Fine. But how wonderful it would be if there were indeed 99 righteous people who have no need of repentance and only one sinner who needs to repent (Lk 15:7). God would still search for that one who is lost, and the angels of God in heaven will still rejoice over his repentance, but the fact that only 1% would be lost and in need of repentance would be cause for the greatest rejoicing.
Unfortunately that is not the case. In fact, it is the reverse! Of all so-called Christians in the world (over 2 billion of them), perhaps only 1% are true Christians, in the full sense of the word, and 99% are in need of repentance. Though all are sinners falling short of the glory of God, the 1% may be said to be in right relationship with God, the way God intends it to be.
Though there are no statistics to support this (an in-depth study or survey, if that is possible, would have to be undertaken), let me give my own plucked-from-the-air view about the situation of Christians today. It is as follows:
50% are nominal and secular, many of them in serious sin. They do not live out their professed faith.
25% are fairly good people, but their faith is something separate from their secular lives.
15% are Church-goers, but still live according to their own priorities, agenda and personal desires. They do not know of nor live out the two greatest commandments.
9% are good Christians, but are not actively striving for holiness, living out discipleship, or doing evangelization. As such, they still fall short of the fullness of what it means to be a true Christian.
1% are true Christians who have no need for repentance (again, everyone is a sinner and still needs to repent, even of venial sin). They live righteous lives.
There actually is grieving among the angels of God in heaven! Even among so-called Christians, the lost (not having found the fullness of life in Christ) are not only 1% but are the 99%!
What does this say to us?
First, we must examine ourselves and our relationship with God.
* Have we truly repented of sin and made a resolve to avoid sin in any form?
* Do we actively resist what the world offers?
* Is Jesus the center of our lives and our Number One priority? Are we striving to love God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength?
* Are we walking the path of holiness? Are we striving to become true and committed disciples of Jesus?
Second, we must give more of ourselves in our work of evangelization and mission. There are so many people out there, many of them nominal Christians, who are in danger of losing their souls in eternity.
* Do we have a burden in our hearts for reaching the lost?
* Are we among those who can be counted as among the workers for the harvest?
* Are we supporting our evangelistic and missionary community with our time, talent and finances?
Third, we must help those whom we evangelize to enter more deeply in their relationship with God. There must be ongoing transformation in Christ, and a living of empowered lives in the Holy Spirit.
* Are we faithful to our covenant in community, as a way of giving mutual help and support to our brethren?
* Do we help and encourage the weak and those struggling in their commitment?
* Do we give fraternal correction when needed?
* Are we peacemakers who work for unity?
* Do we love unconditionally, unilaterally and self-sacrificially?
Let us continue our work of evangelization and mission in the strength of God, such that we give glory to Him, and joy to His angels in heaven.
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