“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Gal. 5:22).
Patience in evangelism starts with God: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
We think God is slow when He is just patient. He tells us to wait patiently too, because that means the salvation of more people:
“Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near” (James 5:7–8).
In personal evangelism there is a time to plow, to disc, and to harrow the ground. There is a time to plant. There is a time to wait for the autumn and spring rains. Then there is a time to harvest. Everything prior to the harvest requires patience.
“When the harvest is ripe, patience is no longer needed: Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor” (John 4:35–38).
“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few’” (Mt. 9:37).
A common pitfall in evangelism is doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. We plant the gospel but dig it up every day to inspect its growth without waiting for the harvest, or we sit around immobile when the harvest is ripe.
*Excerpted from Weapons & Tactics. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore.