Part II of this post
Perhaps the hardest part of proclaiming the Gospel is that, often, it doesn’t seem like this proclamation does anything at all.
By many accounts, it seems like God’s masterplan doesn’t work! We are treading into a deep mystery here, but we can say that the “job” of the Word (the Kerygma, the Gospel) isn’t some technological, cause-and-effect incantation to bend people into salvation. That is magic, not the Spirit. The “job” of the Gospel proclamation is simply to reveal hearts.
Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel… that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed. (Luke 2:34-35)
Though the Kerygma strikes every person to the core of their being (usually quite imperceptibly), one can always choose to rise to it or fall from it. And there are many who shrink from it and say, “No”.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor 1:18)
Strangely, though, the Word has still “succeeded,” in that instance. The success of the proclamation of the Gospel is not to “win” or “lose.” The proclamation of the Gospel is to “test the hearts of men” – that is what it comes to do, and that is what it always does. That is it’s success. The Word is a seed that is simply meant to be sown. It will test the soil, but it will never make the soil accept it. For this reason, committing oneself to proclaiming the Gospel is to surrender to moving amidst a task of invisible “results”. We must accept a way that will be (probably) less than 50% effective and whose method for success is immeasurable.
“Foolishness”, indeed. But, would you take God’s foolishness over the wisdom of men?
For the foolishness of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Cor 1:25)