Another Look by David Faust
The roar of the crowd could be heard for miles. Filled with intense emotion, the people gathered on the very ground where Solomon’s temple stood decades before. After long years in exile, the Jews had returned to Jerusalem and laid the foundation for a new temple to be constructed on the site of the old one. Many lifted their voices in praise to the Lord and shouted for joy. Happy to see the new temple under construction but sad to remember the former temple their enemies had reduced to rubble, others wept aloud.
“No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away” (Ezra 3:13).
Whenever God’s people gather and focus on our mission, it has a far-reaching impact. Words spoken and deeds done in the Lord’s name generate sound waves that echo across miles of distance, through years of time.
Jesus preached on a remote hillside in Galilee without a microphone to amplify his voice or cameras to record his image, but Spirit-led witnesses wrote down his words, and 2,000 years later the message still rings true.
Today, brave Christians endure persecution for their faith in the Middle East and Northeast Asia. Their sacrifices create echoes heard far away.
A dad sets a godly example for his young son, and decades later, the adult son still heeds the advice his father gave him long ago.
A team of volunteers gather at the church building to pray and plan how to disburse the missions budget for another year. On the other side of the globe, their prayers will be answered and their generosity will bear fruit in ways the volunteers will never fully comprehend as missionaries lead hundreds to Christ.
A Sunday school teacher devotes an hour to a roomful of squirming children, only a few of whom seem to be paying attention. On Sunday afternoon she thinks, “Maybe I’ve been doing this too long and I’ve lost my touch with the kids.” She doesn’t realize that someday, partly because of her influence, a little boy sitting in her classroom will preach the gospel to thousands.
A music leader prepares the music for next week’s worship service, privately wondering if anyone really cares about her efforts. She doesn’t realize that hundreds of worshipers are still humming the praise songs she led last Sunday.
A weary preacher stares at his laptop and begins writing another sermon manuscript. Discouraged, he sighs to himself (and to the Lord), “So many sermons preached, so few lives changed.” He doesn’t realize that a Christian brother in another nation listens to the messages uploaded on the church’s Web site, and the Lord is using those weekly sermons to strengthen someone the preacher himself will never meet.
Every night a grandmother prays for her grandsons and granddaughters to walk with God. Years later her grandkids will lead local churches, honor Christ in the public marketplace, serve on mission fields, and bring up believing children of their own. No one but the Lord hears the woman’s faithful prayers, but her earnest pleas resound far away.
Paul told some first-century believers, “The Lord’s message rang out from you” and “your faith in God has become known everywhere” (1 Thessalonians 1:8). We must ring out the gospel and support others who take it where we ourselves cannot go.
After all, we never know how far the sound might carry—and who might be listening.