Just before returning to heaven, Jesus met with His disciples on Mount Olivet for the last time and commissioned them with the most important task ever given to human beings. It must have been thrilling to hear with one's own ears Christ speak these words of promise: "Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Here was a command charged with power that must not be evaded. Here is a command that rings down from the days of the disciples to our own! Every member of the remnant church is called by God to proclaim the good news of salvation. God could bestow no greater honor on His people than to ask us to share with Him the proclamation of the good news. All heaven is interested in this great endeavor. Every angel desires to be involved in revealing God's love. But this precious responsibility is reserved for man, because he alone can tell the story from a personal perspective. He alone knows the joy of experiencing God's love in a world of sin.
Many people are waiting to hear the good news of God's love, even though they don't realize it. They find life filled with perplexities and problems that they cannot solve. You and I have a message that provides the answers to these questions. Now is the time—indeed it is past time—for God's church to awaken and respond to the open doors around us. Now is the time for Faith Action Advance. The means are available. The workers are prepared. God's gifts are abundantly supplied by His Holy Spirit. We need to follow the leading of Christ with an open and willing heart. When we are willing to be used completely by God, the work will soon be finished. Within the North American Division territory, every level of the church, as well as every organization, must accept the responsibility to plan for the vigorous advancement of God's cause. If we person ally and corporately accept the challenge of His commission, God will give His church success.
During the 1981 Annual Council the leaders of the church voted to respond to God's commission for His church by placing an emphasis on One Thousand Days of Reaping prior to the 1985 General Conference session. All of God's people are called to become involved in evangelism and nurturing as a way of life. We must willingly accept the challenge of using every gift God has given us for the fulfillment of our task. There is no imperative that should occupy the church and its leaders more than evangelism.
God Himself places an eschatological emphasis on our task. John the revelator pictured God's people fulfilling their mission as an angel flying "in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth" (Rev. 14:6). No hesitancy is portrayed in this scene. As we read this passage a vital urgency is transmitted to us; we respond, "Here am I; send me" (Isa. 6:8).
God desires all of His disciples to use their God-given gifts now to aid in completing the assigned task. Each pastor should joyfully accept the privilege of leading his congregation into fulfilling their evangelistic potential. Conference administrators need to take their places as leaders to guide in the full use of resources within their field, for the purpose of fulfilling the Lord's commission. The Lord clearly points out the duty of each leader who serves Him: "Those who stand as leaders in the church of God are to realize that the Saviour's commission is given to all who believe in His name."—Christian Service, p. 68. Therefore, plans need to be developed that will challenge every member to be a positive witness for Christ in this present climactic hour. Jesus is waiting to send any help we need, for He has assured us of success. He said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. . . . And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:18-20).
Won't you take time right now to bow your head and ask your Master to help you to be a productive worker for Jesus as you personally plan ways to become involved in the One Thousand Days of Reaping? The appeal is not from me; it is not merely from your church. The appeal is from God Himself, who said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
If we do not respond to the call of God at this crucial hour, who will? If we do not tell the good news, who will? If not you—who?
It is time to go home to heaven. It is time for Jesus to come. It is time for all of God's people to be involved in carrying out the commission He has given to His church. It is time for us to accept seriously the responsibility that God has placed upon us individually. It is time to develop plans that will give success to the Thou sand Days of Reaping. It is time to proclaim to all people everywhere with a "loud voice" the good news that Jesus loves them and is coming soon to take them home.
If not you—who?