Friday, September 30, 2011

Collect Souls for Jesus!

Many people go through life collecting things. Some of these collections, like rare stamps or coins, may have great monetary value, and the collector may even count on selling his prized possessions to support him in his old age or to finance a child’s college education. Some collections have no intrinsic value but become an heirloom to pass on through the generations, like baby’s first tooth, lock of hair, photo, and rattle. Other collections, like dried flowers pressed in a book to commemorate special occasions, are valuable only to the collector for the memories they bring to mind.

While material collections may bring security, pleasure or happiness, we should be careful not to give them undue importance:

Luke 12:15 And [Jesus]said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

Then there are the “collections” that can actually harm the collector or those around him – pornography magazines, leftover prescription medications, notches on a bedpost representing sexual conquests, music or DVDs reflecting questionable values, and empty chocolate boxes, wine bottles, or menus from restaurants where the collector overindulged fleshly appetites. Taken to an extreme, collecting anything material, even if valuable or pleasing, can lead to hoarding, with the resulting clutter preventing repairs and visits from friends and even endangering health.

But the bottom line is that when we leave this earth, we can take none of these collections with us, and we should use what God gives us to further His kingdom, storing our treasures in Heaven where they bring us eternal benefits (Luke 12:16-34).

As the Rapture draws nearer, we should all realize that the only treasure that matters is what we can lay at Jesus’ feet and that will withstand the purifying fire. The gold, silver and jewels that emerge unscathed from the fire of judgment are those deeds done with the right heart and the right motive to further Christ’s kingdom, while those “good deeds” we did out of pride or for our own selfish motives will burn up like wood, hay and stubble (1 Cor 3: 11-15).

One of the best crowns we can lay at Jesus’ feet is the soulwinner’s crown – a living crown of those souls we helped bring to Jesus (I Thess 2:19-20) – not necessarily by being the one who led the unsaved person through the sinner’s prayer, but rather by playing any part in the process. Planting or watering the seed by witnessing, sharing a tract, inviting someone to church, supporting missions can all make a difference (1 Cor 3:5-9). Not until we reach Glory will it be fully revealed to us how each prayer we prayed for missionaries, or how our gifts to support missions, led to specific people being saved! What a blessing it will be to meet these people in Heaven!

A prime example in the Bible of a “soul collector” is the apostle Andrew. As soon as Andrew was saved, he shared his acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah with his brother Peter (John 1:41). Even though Peter, and not Andrew, became part of Christ’s inner circle, Andrew did not appear to grow bitter, but rather kept right on collecting souls for Christ. Although it was Peter who preached the sermon at Pentecost that led to thousands of souls being saved (Acts 2:41), Andrew must have shared in that crown to lay at Jesus’ feet, simply because he was the one who brought Peter to Christ!

Through Andrew’s passion for collecting souls, he was able to play a part in one of Christ’s recorded miracles by bringing the boy with the loaves and fishes to Jesus, resulting in the multitudes being fed, and no doubt many being saved (John 6:8-9). Later, Andrew shared the Gospel with the Greeks (John 12:20-22), even though many of the Jews did not yet realize that God intended for them to be part of His Kingdom too, and not just His chosen people the Hebrews.

So let’s follow Andrew’s example, lay up our treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:20), and be soul collectors for Jesus!

23 comments:

  1. Am I this collector? I don't know. I only know, that there is no week without at least one person, who visits my blog by searching conversion stories. Maybe someone knew God by it, I don't know. Sometimes I talk about God, faith and Bible with my friends from university and with my family, who aren't born again. Heartly greetings for You.

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  2. Yes, Zim, I think from reading your blog that you are collecting souls for Jesus! Praise God that you are sharing your faith not only on the Internet, but with your friends and family. All we can do is plant seeds from God's Word, and the Holy Spirit does the rest. Thank you as always for your comment, and God bless you and your ministry.

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  3. I did not realize that about Andrew!
    This was a very good lesson. It seems the theme of storing up treasure in heaven is making it's rounds through blogger land lately:)

    ~Peace & Blessings In Jesus~

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  4. Great point that those who just planted or watered have just as much a part as the one who reaps the harvest. Too often we get the impression only the reaper did anything. It is like crediting the doctor who delivers a baby and ignoring the mother who did the real work.

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  5. Never Forsaken, I'm glad you enjoyed this. It's good that many blogs are reminding us to store up treasure in heaven, so that we can keep our focus on things above.

    dfish, I love your analogy! I was saved 11 years ago, when with God's perfect timing, a situation that brought me to my knees made me realize I was a sinner in need of a Savior who had died on the cross and rose again so I could have eternal life. No one shared the Gospel with me at the time I was saved, and a large part of my coming to the Lord I believe was because of an evangelist who witnessed to me during a train ride 20 years earlier! I'm looking forward to thanking him in Heaven!

    Thank you both as always for your thoughtful comments, and may God bless you and your ministry.

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  6. Thanks for this post Laurie. It's awesome to know even our simple acts of kindness, and words can actually help lead others to Jesus. Our treasure is in Heaven, permanent, final and secure. No worries about banks or loans. God is completely trustworthy. Great post! Very inspiring. Thanks it's so encouraging.

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  7. Thanks, Karen, for your kind words and thoughtful comment! It will be awesome in Heaven to learn what effect those simple acts of kindness and words had, and to meet the people we helped to lead to the Lord, perhaps without our even realizing it here on earth. God's blessings, peace and joy to you!

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  8. A worldly mentality easily encroaches on us, doesn't it? Perhaps it's because we see no immediate benefit for witnessing or praying for the lost, when material collections provide immediate gratification. But what is seen is temporal, and what is invisible endures eternity: what a difference! We should all "be fishers of men" as Jesus wants us to be. Thank you for the post.

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  9. Beautifully said, Ian. Through things of the world, Satan so often tries to distract us from what should be our primary goal of leading souls to Christ, of running the race for the living soulwinner's crown to lay at Jesus' feet. Thank you for your comment and God bless you!

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  10. I totally agree with you, and Andrew is a good example for us. Yesterday we went to a memorial service for a member of our former church. She was 91 years old. She had collected bells for many years. She and her husband traveled extensively and she brought a bell back from each place to remember it by. At her service yesterday all those bells were displayed on trays. Each person after signing the guest book was invited to take a bell. At the end of the service we were all told to ring the bells. It was really nice and then we were told we could keep the bells. I chose a beautiful little crystal bell and now whenever I see it I think of Sammie. She was a great lady and a wonderful Christian.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  11. Dear Charlotte,

    What a lovely way to remember someone! Imagine what it would be like if we entered Heaven and each person there whose life we had touched in some way, bringing them closer to the Lord, rang a crystal bell to welcome us! What a beautiful sound that would be! But I imagine what the Lord has in store for us is even exceedingly abundantly better than that. Thanks for your comment, and blessings and peace to you!

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  12. What a great lesson. We never know the influence we have on people or how the Lord is using us. It seems I run across more people who have gotten away from their first experience with the Lord, and the Lord uses me to bring them back, seeking, growing, and hungry for the things of God. We all have our part as you said, there is a process. Great post, God bless, Bobbi

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  13. Hi Bobbi, thanks for your kind words and comment! You're right, it's not just those seeds we plant or water in the hearts of those who are yet unsaved, but also in the hearts of those who are saved but not in God's will. If we can help a soul who is away from the Lord to return to Him, and even if we can encourage fruitful Christians to remain faithful and productive, I believe we will be rewarded for that as well. We will receive a portion of the reward of every soul they lead to Christ! Truly a win-win-win situation! God bless you too! Laurie

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  14. Thanks for visiting my blog (Fear of the Lord) and your kind comment! I did add myself as a follower; thank you for following mine. I did enjoy reading this; I like the thought of collecting souls. I had a garage sale a few years back before we moved to Southern California when we were living in Montana at the time. I pretty much sold 2/3 of our stuff. I got to talking to a man who was looking through my stuff and came to find he was a believer. I was talking about it really didn't matter about possessions and he said agreed, saying "the only things you can take with you are souls". Of course he didn't mean that we are in control of who gets into heaven, that is between God and an individual person with accepting Jesus as their Savior, but his point was how we "water those seeds" to lead others to come to know Jesus. So true, we can't take our possessions with us but we can help lead others to the only life that matters and that is Jesus and eternal life! So I'll keep storing my treasures in heaven and help to get the message out of Jesus for people who need to hear about him :)

    betty

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  15. This is so good, Laurie. I'm not a big collector. I'm more a one-of-a-kind kind of girl. But oh, I'd love to be a collector of souls -- laying up treasures in Heaven.

    Blessings,
    Pamela

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  16. Welcome Betty, and thanks for your comment and for following! Sometimes it a relief to rid our house of the physical clutter, and of course it's a much greater relief to lay down our burdens of sin and guilt at the foot of the cross.

    Pamela, thanks for your comment and kind words! One-of-a-kind is a great idea -- reminds me of how God has made each of us truly unique not only physically but in our heart, mind and spirit.

    May God bless you both, and your ministries!
    Laurie

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  17. Thank you for this reminder to keep our things in the proper prospective and to lay up our treasures in heaven.

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  18. Wonderful post and very encouraging. Goes right along with what we.. me and my husband desire and are hopefully doing with our lives.. planting seeds. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.. I can leave here feeling fed!

    Blessings,
    Misty

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  19. Shanda and Misty, thank you so much for your encouraging words and comments. Blessings to you both!

    Misty, thanks so much for visiting. You have a lovely blog, where you are indeed planting seeds! I am now following your blog, and I invite you to follow this blog (Saved by Grace) also.

    Love in Christ, Laurie

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  20. Thank you!
    I like your comment, your blog is a blessing.
    God bless you.
    Stay in the peace of Christ.

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  21. Dear Milla, Thank you so much for your comment, for following, and for your blessing. May God bless and keep you and grant you peace and joy in Him.

    Love in Christ,
    Laurie

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  22. Once time more me:
    My blog friend, Ewelina, needs our help. On my blog are all data - it isn't any cheating or something like that.
    If You want, You can of course copy this information to Your blog or copy link to someone.
    I believe, that God like this.

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  23. Thanks, Zim, I will look at this on your blog, and I will keep Ewelina in my prayers. May God bless you, Laurie

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