There are many times in life when our expectations are not met. We have a plan for our lives and things just do not go as planned. When I survey my life, I have experienced hurts, failures, and disappointments. I am certain that I am not alone in this. In college while pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering, I failed a key course in nuclear physics. After commissioning as an officer in the United States Army, I received a sub-par efficiency report on my first review. Later in business, I was demoted from a high position. The leaders in my first pastoral ministry sought to have my credentials removed, a very painful experience. I had to close a church that I planted six years after it started. Of course, there were many rejections and betrayals by people whom I loved and trusted. Yet here is the point. When we go through these things, we have two choices. We can either give up or press on. If we quit, we fail for certain. No, in all of these cases, by God’s grace I pressed on.
Paul, after presenting the message of Christ to the leaders of the Jews in Rome, made the statement, “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” What prefaced this statement was that some of his audience received the message and believed, while others rejected it. We need to understand that the burden of Paul’s heart was to see his Jewish brothers come to faith in Jesus. Paul stated this passion strongly, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:3, AV). However, Paul realizing that his Jewish brethren would not universally believe, never quit preaching the gospel. He pressed on and preached for he knew that others would believe and be saved.
Countless times people have rejected the gospel that I preached. Why did I preach the gospel to people? It was because God put a burden in my heart to see others experience the eternal blessing of God’s grace. I carried a burden for these people. Even in my own family, I hoped and prayed that those that I deeply loved would come to faith. I shared the message of Christ with them and yet, not all believed. This is heart breaking.
Yet, what do we do when people reject our message, even those so close to us? We just keep on pressing on. We do not give up on them and we continue to preach to all who will listen. This is Paul’s example for us to follow as well.
Press on by faith!