Having recently returned from a mission trip to East Asia, I was really struck by the following devotional that I read last night from Dr. Calvin Miller’s Conversations with Jesus. I hope that this will be encouraging to you as you seek to share your faith with others both on mission trips and in day to day life. This is written as a response from Jesus to explain the words of Matthew 10: 14-15, which says: “And whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust from your feet. Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city. ”
“Never forget the bottom line as you minister: You are not accountable for your success or failure in any human arena. Nothing I have called you to do in my name in this world will be dissmissed as trivial in that world to which you are headed. If you are rejected in your attempt to preach the truth, the truth that caused your rejection will not be judged by those who turn a deaf ear to your counsel. Those who reject your words must themselves face the last tribunal.
So never despair over rejection. I knew rejection firsthand. I never despaired. The greatest truths are regularly rejected. You do not need to win any battle in the same moment you take up arms. As I told my disciples as they began their preaching tour, if you are cast out of any city, do not try to barge back and compel anyone to listen. Just shake the dust off of your feet. Why? Because those who hear the truth need to remember that the truth of the gospel is not an option left up to human caprice. The shaking of the dust from your feet will remind those who listen of their obligation to hear.
The gospel has always carried this double obligation. It obligates the disciple to tell the message and the seeker to listen. Pity the complacent witness who will not tell the saving story. Pity the complacent seeker who will not hear of it.
But in this double obligation, important as it is, you must never merely count your converts to measure your success. Truth is its own reward. Once you have told the truth, you have succeeded. Telling the saving truth is your responsibility. Doing the saving is mine. Counting converts in unnecessary. It is an unworthy bottom line on earth and unessential in heaven. So do not grow neurotic trying to become a savior yourself. That is my title; I will do that work. That should take quite a load off your mind. You are only responsible for telling the truth. So tell it. If thousands are drawn to the faith, you will succeed. If you die without a single convert and are crucified for telling the truth, you will still have succeeded.