Goad or Guilt

I used the following quote by, Oswald J. Smith, on Sunday May 23rd, in preaching on global missions; "No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once." There are 6.7 billion people on planet earth, of which two billion, that is one in every three people, have never heard the Gospel.

I must admit this statement has propagated deep meditation in my own life. The cynosure of this meditation has been centered on the following reoccurring thought; "does this statement attempt to motivate by means guilt or does it attempt to goad us toward the heart of God?"

Motivating people from a position of guilt has never born eternal fruit. Jesus never used guilt as a method for ministry but he used the method of goading with great effectiveness. This idea of goading is used in Paul's testimony before Agrippa in Acts 26:14. A goad was used to direct livestock in the desired direction of the master. However, many times the livestock would "kick" against the desire of the master thus causing injury.

Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 that; "we are not our own but we have been with a price." Christ followers have a master. Paul further defines this Corinthians statement by calling himself and us, bond-servants or slaves.

Scripture also describes Christ followers as livestock, in the expression of sheep; John 10. Christ also describes unbelievers as goats; Matthew 25:32 Sheep are regarded, by many, as one of the least intelligent animals on the planet. According to Genesis 1:31; man was the pinnacle of the Lord's creation. If this is so and it is; then why does he give him such a demanding label. I believe many explanation can be given but I will focus on just one.

Sheep cannot survive without a shepherd. Jesus is the great shepherd, John 10:11. The picture of sheep and shepherd is one of dependence. Jesus told his sheep in John 15:5; "for apart from me you can do nothing." The label of sheep is not demeaning, but one that reinforces dependence on Christ.

What does sheep and shepherd have to do with goading? Everything! The shepherd loves his sheep; John 10:11. He loves them with a goading love. It is a love that presses in on them to steer them in his desired direction. The writer of Hebrews reminds us in chapter twelve verses seven through eleven that; "the Lord disciplines those that he loves." He goes on to say in verse eight that the undisciplined is illegitimate. So let us bring this thought to our discussion on shepherd and sheep. Jesus goads sheep because they are his but the goats know nothing of his goading.

Therefore, I propose that our statement of examination is not one meant to bring about guilt but one meant to goad Christ followers to global missions. The Lord had to goad the early church in Acts 8:1 so that Acts 1:8 could be fulfilled. The commission remains unfulfilled. You and I live in day where a single mouse click can place us in visual contact with anyone in the world. The commission remains unfulfilled in a day of high speed air transportation. Why is this so? Many are answers that can be espoused, but none more goading than this; I am saved and secure God help those that are not. Let the final words of Christ ring in your ears;" But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” This is not an option to be considered but a command to be obeyed. The nations await! Where will you go?