The apostle Paul had something essential for effective evangelism: a God-given burden for those who did not know Jesus Christ. In his case, the burden was for his own people, the Jews. He cared. It burned inside him.
General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, once said that his desire, had it been possible, would be to dangle his evangelism trainees over hell for 24 hours. That way, they could see the reality that awaits those who do not know Jesus Christ.
That wouldn’t have been necessary for Paul, who spoke of his love and burning passion for unbelievers. I think it is there for us in Scripture so that we don’t become so obsessed with our own struggles and spiritual growth that we forget about people who need to know Christ.
I think Paul makes an amazing statement in Romans 9 when he says, in essence, “If it were possible, I would give up my hope of eternal life so that others who do not know could come to faith.” That's a pretty dramatic statement.
As believers, you and I have a responsibility to those outside the church—those outside the faith. If God's love is really working in our lives, it should motivate us to do something for Him.
If you pray that God will give you this burden, then be careful. The results could be life-changing. You just may be surprised at how quickly He answers you.
Taken from “A Passion for the Lost” by Harvest Ministries (used by permission).