The late W. A. Criswell, served as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, TX for 50 years. Dr. Criswell was certainly one the great preachers of a former generation. His presence and ability in the pulpit is considered by many homileticians to be unparalleled. As well, his strength and skill in his leadership of one of the largest congregations in America was an evidence of God's definite call upon his life as both pastor and preacher. So many things could be said of Dr. Criswell's ministry. One little known obscurity needs to be brought to light which certainly brings forth a challenge to our lives today.
Before the evening services would begin at First Baptist of Dallas, Dr. Criswell would at times invite any visiting preachers into a time of prayer and brief discussion. In the decade of the 1980's, one question was asked and the answer Dr. Criswell responded with should shake us to the core. The question posed, 'what do you think will be the great hindrance to the church and the evangelism of lost souls?' The answer Dr. Criswell responded with was given in one simple and stinging word, "Indifference." Wow! What insightful perception and depth of discernment from the great pastor. Yet, here we are almost a generation removed from that brief exchange, and we must individually ask ourselves the question, 'What difference am I making?" Am I indifferent or am I attempting to make a difference in winning the lost with the gospel of Christ which was entrusted to the church? Jesus made a declarative statement of promise and purpose when He said, to Peter, "Upon this rock (Peter's confession of Jesus Christ as the Son of God) I will build my church" (Matt. 16: 18).
What are we really doing in the effort of our gospel witness for Jesus as He builds His church through us His body, the church? What decidedly marks us out as Christians, people of His body, the church? Are we complacent and apathetic toward the lostness of people? Have we grown accustomed to a mindset of leaving that gospel preaching stuff to the preacher or the missionary or someone else who feels lead in that way? Really! You don't get off that easy. If you have the attitude of indifference toward local evangelism, world missions, and gospel global outreach with your resources and life, then in all honesty maybe your life is void of real life, spiritual life, new life, a born-again life which unequivocally demands that you make a difference with the life Jesus has freely and graciously given to you.
- Michael, Gal. 2:20