A few weeks ago a missionary did a presentation at our home church. His presentation was enjoyable and helpful and one thing in particular “stood out” to me. It was a phrase that he used twice. He said it when he told of meeting a person who had never heard the name of Jesus Christ and who had certainly never heard of His saving power. He used it again when he told of watching dozens of homeless street children from the warmth and safety of his motel room. His phrase: “It broke my heart!” That is why, he said, that he has spent the past 14 years as a missionary evangelist in a cold and difficult foreign land. That is why he evangelizes. That is why he has orphanages and Bible Colleges. It is why he plants churches. It is why he has given his life for the gospel. His heart was broken.
I was convicted by his statement. Are you? How long has it been since your heart was broken over the souls of men around you? For a neighbor or a neighborhood? For a family member? For a co-worker perhaps? For a mission field?
How long has it been since your church’s heartbeat was souls? Does your church genuinely strive to win souls? In your church, is it a normal thing to pray for souls and to win souls and to see believers following Jesus in baptism? Does your pastor have a broken heart for the community where your church meets?
Take a look at your congregation! Is it primarily a place where refined and mature believers gather to sing and to hear teaching and preaching or is it a congregation alive with new converts who are growing and older converts who are discipling them? Is it alive with “seeking” sinners and loving believers?
Take a look at your youth group! Is it primarily a place where the church youth gather and do church youth group activities? Or is it a place where teens are reaching out to other teens with a broken heart? Does your youth pastor or youth director have a broken heart for the teens in the community where your church meets?
Take a look at your prayer meetings? Are they primarily designed for us to gather and hear some teaching and mention some requests? Are they just designed for us to have a time to make our needs and the needs of others known? Is there ever a genuine fervency and urgency over the souls of those around us? Are there any broken hearts?
Take a look at yourself? Is your heart ever “moved with compassion” as was Jesus’ heart? Do you ever feel the passion of Paul’s cry that his “heart’s desire and prayer for Israel is that they might be saved?” Have you done anything at all this week to speak the gospel to someone? To show someone the love of Jesus? To try to rescue a soul from an eternity in hell?
Perhaps you have read of Amy Carmichael who served in India for 55 years without a furlough. Here is her paraphrase of 1 John 3:17 “But whoever has the gospel of Jesus Christ, and sees men lost and dying in their sin, and closes off his compassion within him, how dwells the love of God in him?” Wow! That is convicting isn’t it?
The missionary said his statement in a southern East Tennessee drawl. “It broke my heart.” There was compassion and love and tenderness in his voice. “It broke my heart,” he said. I am praying that God will break mine too. And yours. And my church’s. And your church’s! Won’t you join me?