“…Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one, does she not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me, I have found my lost coin!’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:8-10)
A healthy question to ask ourselves is this: What is my approach to sharing my faith, to witnessing about Jesus Christ, and to evangelism in general? The reality is, if we are just honest before God, there have been times and seasons when we have flat out avoided answering that question. It digs deep. It forces us to really examine effectiveness and rethinking our whole outlook.
Let’s continue this pattern of transparency: We come into outreach, sharing our faith, and evangelism with some long-standing Christian traditions on what it is and what it must include. For many years it has meant: Going around knocking on doors; handing out tracks to total strangers; setting up a table in front of the local “mart;” or inviting neighbors and friends to attend an evangelistic service at church (on a Sunday that was set-up to be an “evangelistic event”). Come on now, we have all heard or been a part of these at some point. I am not necessarily knocking these ways and means ~ just saying that there are times when it must be more Spirit driven, more creative, more intimate.
Look at the New Testament and some of the examples that are alive in Scripture. Peter tended to be more confrontational and direct. Paul was more personal and intellectual. The woman at the well took a more invitational route, while the blind man in John’s Gospel, chapter 9, was testimonial and gave witness. The good news is that each used who they were, in Christ, to share the Good News of God that was in Christ Jesus Each worked in the respective circumstance. And how relieving it is to know that we are really freed up; that there is no condemnation when our way and someone else’s way are variant or even, at entirely different ends. In fact, there can be limitless ways to distribute and give away His urgent reach and I submit that He has already factored this in.
He knows. Let’s seek the approaches that fit the personalities that God has given us. Then, I believe, it will come as naturally as breathing because instead of molding how we share His reach and impact to others, to fit some paradigm or approach we think is “right”, it will all come out of the overflow. The question is not: Did we do it this way or that way? The question is: Did we allow God to use us the way He desires to?
Evangelism tends to fall faster in personal adoption and practice when compared to many other biblical values. It has been referred to, by many, as the law of evangelistic entropy. One can/will be negatively surprised by how rapidly this part of the faith slips, even in people who are fired up to share their Christian faith. A year or two passes and a dive into comfortable Christianity can set in quickly. Too quickly. How do I know that? I speak from experience and I have seen it too many times. One might even be able to argue that there is some relationship between how long one is a Christian and how comfortable they have become. Lord, let that never be the case with me, or us!
There have been movements, denominations, para-church organizations, and church re-awakenings that have started with evangelism and outreach as the heartfelt passion. Genuine urgency is real and undeniable. Some have kept it front and center, but it is also true that many became institutionalized and inwardly focused, in time. Sharing our faith and leading others to a saving faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ can become a statement, a blurb in a bulletin, or a catchy bumper-sticker phrase without being truly lived out and a part of our very DNA. It is our responsibility, however, to keep it close to heart and life ~ in practice, in purity, in power.
May we simply be obedient to God’s lead, realizing that in His perfect time and will, He will direct our every conversation and action to lift up His Name, celebrate His goodness, and share our faith so that He can draw all men, women, and children, to Himself. That, after all, is His promise and desire.
Lord, help me to always be faithful to giving you away. Open the doors, that I would walk through them. Increase my faith and help me have courage. Give to me all I will need to be effective in witnessing and sharing Your mercy, grace, and love with all who I come in contact with. In the words of the songwriter: “Not to us, but to Your Name, be the glory!”