Peter Ayling my mentor in my formative days could be slightly cynical. As an evangelist, I was always thrilled to report that this person or that received Jesus as their Savior to which he would often reply with this deflating line, “I suppose we’ll know in five years.” Like Peter, I’ve learned not to get too excited by visible results. Over the past forty years I’ve seen many people only make temporary decisions and have become lost to the kingdom (if they ever were really in it at all) along the way.
If we were to decide my effectiveness in Europe by visible results I would be a very productive Christian worker. Yesterday morning, for instance, I preached to about one hundred fifty people and at the time of active witness about ten people responded to a call for repentance and faith. Hopefully tears remain to be an evidence of earnest repentance but this cannot be trusted either as I have seen the emotionally unmoved, cold-faced decision maker stand firm while the one, almost hysterical regarding their sin has washed out. Good beginnings are never a guarantee of successful endings.
Anyhow, leadership was quite pleased with the message and response with some they had been praying for making a visible acknowledgement of their condition. “I suppose we’ll know in five years.”
Nevertheless, I doubt if preaching almost anywhere in America I would see this response from a single message in a group of this size so I am quite relieved to see that the Spirit of God appears to be moving, convicting men and women of sin, righteousness and judgment to come.