People often ask what motivates me (a quiet, peace-loving person) to keep going in a ministry that stirs up so much opposition. I persevere because I strongly believe God has called me to do what I do, and He confirms that call with the personal reward of joy.
The call did not come through any kind of Damascus Road experience. In fact, it took twenty years to develop. It began when I was a nineteen-year-old Christian with a compelling desire to persuade fellow students and professors to consider the claims of Jesus Christ. Only a few did, but their response thrilled me. After arriving at Caltech, church members sought me out for help in witnessing to others. My “rare” position as a Christian and a scientist eager to share my faith prompted the leaders in my church to ask me to become their minister of evangelism. That request stunned me into realizing that a monumental transition had occurred in me: I was more excited about seeing people come to faith in Christ than I was over discovering new quasars. Though I felt sorely lacking in qualifications, my experiences, my desires, and the unanimity of support among the Christians I knew convinced me to accept the offer.
My new role as minister of evangelism proved to be more exciting than I had imagined. Instead of seeing a handful of people coming to Christ each year, I began to see many more. When that number got up into the hundreds, the leaders approached me again. They wanted to help me launch a new, specialized outreach, Reasons To Believe. Again, my heart leaped at the idea, but I felt woefully inadequate. And again, my family and fellow Christians confirmed the call.
I have learned over the past twenty-five years the “sneak preview” principle. As a way to balance the gradual loss of my youthful vitality, God supercharges me with little glimpses of the spiritual impact He’s having through my efforts. Virtually every time I speak these days He brings me one or two or more people eager to tell me that one of my books or messages helped them come to faith in Christ. Some of these stories go back 10 or 15 years! At that time, the number of RTB books and tapes in circulation was just a small percentage of what it is now.
So, be encouraged! God works through you and me even when we don’t see it or know it. And as we keep growing, so does the fruit of our labor—both the fruit of joy and the fruit of lives changed. But we will only see a little glimpse of the crowd through the curtain, a sneak preview. God’s work in us and through us is far greater than we can imagine. In Heaven we will look back in amazement at all the wonderful things God has done.
Sincerely in Christ,