Nothing hinders the Church in America more than a lack of zeal. In 1889 Andrew Murray, a missionary in South Africa, received a letter from D.L. Moody inviting him to a missions conference in New York. Murray wanted to address a fresh topic which had not been recycled from years past, and so he requested manuscripts of previous sermons used.
Upon examination of the sermon transcripts, Andrew Murray observed that every major missions-related topic had been covered, except for one. Nothing had been said about the need for zeal. This led the missionary to conclude:
The Church remains unrevived and the world remains lost, not because the Church does not have a plan of action, but because of a lack of heart. . . . The enthusiasm for the Kingdom is missing because there is little enthusiasm for the King of that Kingdom.
In many places around the world, believers are in harm’s way on account of their faith in Christ. Yet the cause of Christ is increasing because they have a zeal for the Lord. American Christians need to take notes from their brothers and sisters abroad. The Grace Race isn’t easy. There is blood—slights, insults, hardships, and frequent injuries—as we press on toward the prize. There is sweat—running the race requires energy and persistence. But there are cheers—a reward awaits us when we have completed our course (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
Without a zeal fueled by love for Christ, it will be easy to quit when the going gets tough. Maybe you have taught Sunday school for many years and are ready to give up because you haven’t seen any fruit from your labors. There could be a neighbor you have been trying to lead to Christ, but it seems like he or she will never embrace the Savior. Perhaps you have been emotionally injured to the point of quitting the ministry. Keep looking unto Jesus as you run the Grace Race, and your flame will never die out.
Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn. — John Wesley
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.