Despite the fact that the odds were against them, the believers in the first-century Church pressed on. And they succeeded magnificently.
About 200 years after the birth of the Church, an early church father named Tertullian made this statement about the impact of the gospel: “We have filled every place among you, cities, islands, fortresses, towns, marketplaces, the very camp, tribes, companies, palaces, the senate, the forum. We have left nothing to you but the temples of your gods.”
Don’t you love that? Tertullian is saying, “There is no stone that has been left unturned. There isn’t one little crevice or corner where the gospel has not gone. We have invaded your culture.”
And as you look back, you see that the Roman Empire eventually crumbled, while the message of Christ spread across the world.
We have that same task before us today. We need that “stick-to-it-ivity” of the early Church.
The Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney was an optimist. He loved to bring fairy tales and children’s stories to life, like Pinocchio, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins, and many others. These stories resonate with us because, deep down inside, we all want to “live happily ever after.”
Here is the good news: Jesus Christ will one day return to earth and establish His Kingdom. Then, and only then, will we really “live happily ever after.” Until then, we are to preach the gospel and try to impact our culture.
Walt Disney left us the Magic Kingdom in Disneyland, and it has entertained millions. Walt was driven to reach his goals, but as wonderful as many of them were, they pale in comparison to what the Church is called to do.
Jesus has left us with the task of preaching the gospel of His Kingdom. There is no more important thing than that.
And yet, far too often we listen to the naysayers and don’t think we can succeed. Look at what Disney accomplished. Can we not do even more? We are bringing the Eternal Kingdom that will last forever.
Yes, the odds are against us, but remember that God is for us! And if God is for us, who can be against us?