From, The Sovereignty of God, by A.W. Pink
If God has determined before the foundation of the world the precise number of those who shall be saved then why should we concern ourselves about the eternal destiny of those with whom we come into contact? What place is left for zeal in Christian service? Will not the doctrine of God’s Sovereignty, and its corollary of predestination, discourage the Lord’s servants from faithfulness in evangelism? No; instead of discouraging His servants a recognition of God’s Sovereignty is most encouraging to them. Here is one, for example, who is called upon to do the work of an evangelist, and he goes forth believing in the freedom of the will and in the sinner’s own ability to come to Christ. He preaches the Gospel as faithfully and zealously as he knows how; but he finds the vast majority of his hearers are utterly indifferent and have no heart at all for Christ. He discovers that men are, for the most part, thoroughly wrapt up in the things of the world, and that few have any concern about the world to come. He beseeches men to be reconciled to God and pleads with them over their soul’s salvation. But it is of no avail. He becomes thoroughly disheartened and asks himself, What is the use of it all? Shall he quit, or had he better change his mission and message? If men will not respond to the Gospel, had he not better engage in that which is more popular and acceptable to the world? Why not occupy himself with humanitarian efforts, with social uplift work, with the purity campaign? Alas! that so many men who once preached the Gospel are now engaged in these activities instead.
What then is God’s corrective for His discouraged servant? First, he needs to learn from Scripture that God is not now seeking to convert the world, but that in this Age He is “taking out of the Gentiles” a people for His name (Acts 15:14). What then is God’s corrective for His discouraged servant? This: a proper apprehension of God’s plan for this Dispensation. Again: what is God’s remedy for dejection at apparent failure in our labors? This: the assurance that God’s purpose cannot fail, that God’s plans cannot miscarry, that God’s will must be done. Our labors are not intended to bring about that which God has not decreed. Once more: what is God’s word of cheer for the one who is thoroughly disheartened at the lack of response to his appeals and the absence of fruit, for his labors? This: that we are not responsible for results: that is God’s side, and God’s business. Paul may “plant,” and Apollos may “water,” but it is God who “gave the increase” (1 Cor. 3:6). Our business is to obey Christ and preach the Gospel to every creature, to emphasize the “Whosoever believeth” and then to leave the Sovereign operations of the Holy Spirit to apply the Word in quickening power to whom He wills, resting on the sure promise of Jehovah: “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from Heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please (it may not be that which we please), and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isa. 55:10, 11). Was it not this assurance that sustained the beloved Apostle when he declared “Therefore (see context) I endure all things for the elect’s sake” (2 Tim. 2:10)! Yea, is not this same lesson to be learned from the blessed example of the Lord Jesus! When we read that He said to the people “Ye also have seen Me, and believe not,” He fell back upon the Sovereign pleasure of the One who sent Him, saying “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). He knew that His labor would not be in vain. He knew God’s Word would not return unto Him “void.” He knew that “God’s elect” would come to Him and believe on Him. And this same assurance fills the soul of every servant who intelligently rests upon the blessed truth of God’s Sovereignty.
Ah, fellow-Christian-worker, God has not sent us forth to “draw a bow at a venture.” The success of the ministry which He has committed into our hands is not left contingent on the fickleness of the wills in those to whom we preach. How gloriously encouraging, how soul-sustaining the assurance are those words of our Lord’s if we rest on them in simple faith: “And other sheep I have (”have” mark you, not “will have”; “have” because given to Him by the Father before the foundation of the world), which are not of this fold (i.e. the Jewish fold then existing): them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice” (John 10:16). Not simply, “they ought to hear My voice,” not simply “they may hear My voice,” not “they will if they are willing.” There is no “if,” no uncertainty about it. “They shall hear My voice” is His own positive, unqualified, absolute promise. Here then is where faith is to rest! Continue your quest, dear friend, after the “other sheep” of Christ’s. Be not discouraged because the “goats” heed not His voice as you preach the Gospel. Be faithful, be scriptural, be persevering, and Christ may use even you to be His mouthpiece in calling some of His lost sheep unto Himself. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).
(HT: Symphony of Scripture)