According to Equalitynow approximately 20.9 million adults and children are bought and sold for sexual servitude, forced labour and bonded labour. That is 20.9 million persons who have been forced to do the unthinkable, live the unfathomable, and experience the unimaginable.
I spent a few months doing work with a few of these 20.9 million. Women like the 54-year-old widow who had been tricked by her lover. She thought he loved her, but when she sold her house for them to start a new life together, he took the money and left. Desperate and alone she turned to working the streets.
There was also the 25-year-old who had been working the street for seven years. She looked hopeless and weary. Her boss drove by, she gave him some money and sat down. We decided to pray for her but whilst I prayed for her she got an angry call from her boss. She got up, walked away, quickly exchanged words in her native tongue and was not able to keep communicating with us
Then there was the 16-year-old -two months in the business her adolescent youthfulness bubbled as she welcomed us to her ‘station’. Another set of men sat watching but she looked carefree and unaffected. What I didn’t realise was that she was drunk not happy. The boss watched carefully from across the street. A few minutes later she was called away.
How does the gospel help in this dire situation? How can telling someone Jesus came to save from a life of sin do anything for these persons? They were stuck in slavery, broken dreams, and hopelessness. Was the gospel just words?
More than words
For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. You know what kind of men we were among you for your benefit, and you became imitators of us and of the Lord when, in spite of severe persecution, you welcomed the message with joy from the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians chapter 1 verse 5
Paul visited a church in Thessalonica on his second mission trip and because of persecution of the Jews during that time he spent three Sabbath’s with them before continuing.
The book of Thessalonians is said to be one of His first letters written and does not contain any doctrinal content but the theme throughout is one of consolation and encouragement. These converts came to Christ during great difficulty.
Amid hardship, persecution and pain these people readily received the gospel. Not because of flowy speeches or fancy theatrics but because the Word came with power…. the power of the Holy Spirit. Not only did it come with power it says they, they were able to receive this message with joy.
Not a Gimmick
Sometimes sharing the gospel may feel like a fledgling response to great problems and large disparaging realities, but please be reminded that the gospel isn’t just a bunch of nice words or another “good option”. It’s not a new self-help regime that people should try. What we offer when we share the gospel is the power to change lives from the inside out. It is world changing. It is a real love. It is hope. It is the power of God.
In Acts chapter 16 there is a story of another slave girl. Like the 20.9 million she was being abused and held captive by her captors for financial gain. But when she encountered the gospel this former victim of abuse and slavery found spiritual, physical, and emotional freedom. God’s redeeming work come with the power to deliver and give her new life in more ways than one.
So whenever you share the gospel pray like Paul
“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give [them] the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…[that] the eyes of [their] hearts [be] enlightened, that [they] may know what is the hope to which [they] have been called, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians chapter 1 verse 17
Because the gospel did come for the slave.
Stacy-Ann Smith - is a child therapist. She is involved with children’s ministry and working girls and has a heart to teach them the ways of the Lord.
Stacy-Ann Smith’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/stacy-ann- smith.html