I met someone. Maybe she’s a friend now. We’ll see I guess. While I was impressed with her as a person, I was also impressed with her salvation story. You see, someone at her previous job a few years back asked her something along the lines of, “Do you know Jesus?” The whole thing really got me thinking about how ineffective we often are as evangelists because of our lack of boldness. I have no idea who this cracker barrel employee was, and I probably never will. But I am grateful for this brother.
The simplicity of his approach is remarkable! So direct, right to the point.
Now as Christians, we all have our specific callings, gifts and ministries but there are some callings that we all share, universally. Our platforms may be different and our resources may be different, but we are ALL to be evangelists.
Dictionary.com (no one uses a physical dictionary anymore, come on) defines “evangelize” this way, “to preach the Gospel to” or “to convert to Christianity.” For those of us who are thinking, “well, I wasn’t called to be an evangelist, I was called to [insert calling here],” you are dead wrong! Sharing the Gospel wasn’t a call given to a select few Christian brothers and sisters. It was given to ALL of us! In Matthew 28 we find what is commonly known as The Great Commission. It’s where Jesus sends the disciples out to make disciples, who then make disciples, who makes disciples and so on and so forth. It’s an endless cycle of Jesus following, disciple making. His words are, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Those of you who are sticklers for context, like myself, might say, “well, here Jesus is speaking to his remaining 11 disciples, not to us.” To that I respond: in this passage of scripture, those 11 disciples are being told to go make more DISCIPLES. This means that the same charge Jesus gave the 11 would be given to us as the new generations of disciples. BAM! (The “bam” might have been too much.) If you don’t believe me, there are a so many other bible verses that speak to this! Romans 10:11-15, Philemon 1:6, Luke 12:8, Acts 13:47. I mean, this goes all the way back to the old testament too! Isaiah 12:4, Psalm 96:2-4. We NEED to be sharing the Gospel and though I know it’s important to preach the Gospel over and over to ourselves and to other Christians (we all have a tendency to forget), it’s also important that we share it with people outside of our tightly knit circles.
This is a concept that should be the heartbeat of the church, which by the way, YOU are. So it’s not up to your pastors or your congregation, it’s up to you and I as INDIVIDUALS! 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” The presence of God is no longer confined to the walls of a temple. Church buildings do not contain the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God enters the church building only when the church people walk in. When you hear a pastor say on a Sunday morning, “The presence of God is in this place,” it’s only because YOU are!
If you’re a Christian, you were given every tool you would ever need to share the Gospel of Christ when you received the Holy Spirit. That is the truth. It doesn’t always feel very true, but it’s true nonetheless. If you’re like me, you’re a coward. So cowardly that you won’t even pray for boldness because you don’t want to be praying with strangers in the parking lot of the H.E. Butt grocery company. I think I’ve said this before, but the “B” in the HEB grocery initials stands for “Butt” which is the guys last name and because I’m a sinful, sinful being, it makes me laugh every. single. time. Anyway, very rarely, if ever, do I leave my home and ask the Holy Spirit to show me who to share Jesus with while I’m out. I don’t ask, because I don’t want to. And He’s never told me to because I’m probably not listening anyway.
I have no problem being all Jesus-y on social media, in this blog, with my family and close friends, but when it comes to strangers, I have a “no way Jose” attitude. I don’t openly say to the Lord, “today I refuse to share you with anyone” but I might as well! Because I don’t do it! Now I’m not minimizing the good that a Facebook post can do, or a blog, or sharing a scripture with a friend. Those are good and right uses of platforms we’ve been given. Personally, I have a heart for the lukewarm Christian. I love talking to other Christians about Jesus, the Christians who have fallen away from faith or the ones who teeter on the edge of it. It’s one of my favorite things to do! I love talking to my unbelieving friends and family about Jesus. I know they think I’m a complete nut, but I also know they love me so I don’t mind.
The common denominator in all these instances is that I KNOW these people. Most of them I love deeply because of our longstanding relationships. And I don’t just love these people, I love their whole souls. I want them to know Jesus for who He is and spend eternity with Him. I can not say the same for the stranger in the parking lot. But I SHOULD be able to. There have been times the Holy Spirit burdens me so heavily for a stranger that I am compelled to pray for them, and in that instance I do love them and their soul, but generally, I don’t pray with them. Again, not minimizing prayer. Prayer is powerful. It’s so powerful that I should be doing it MORE, with more people, with strangers. We should be CONSUMED by desire to share this message of hope that we have, especially in this incredibly dark and dying world.
Stick with me here. I’m coming around the bend.
We’re not given just one platform, we’re given many and we should be using them ALL. If you food shop, you can share the Gospel. If you get your groceries delivered, you can share the Gospel. If you have a job, you can share the Gospel. If you live in an apartment building, you can share the Gospel. If you have neighbors, you can share the Gospel. If you stand on line outside your kids school, you can share the Gospel. If you are part of a running club, you can share the Gospel. If you take your dog to the dog park, you can share the Gospel. If your kids take swimming lessons, you can share the Gospel. If you go out on Thursdays for happy hour, you can share the Gospel! The list is innumerable! We don’t need to be on the streets every day handing out tracts, though again, I’m not dissing that, we just need to actually see the people we pass while we’re doing the ordinary. How often do you see the same check out person over and over and never even look them in the eye? Oh, is that just me? THESE ARE PEOPLE! WITH SOULS. ETERNAL BEINGS.
How is it that something so simple can be made so complex! Just ask, “do you know Jesus?” If they answer “yes,” then maybe you’ll have inspired a fellow believer to go and do just what you did. If they say “no,” then you have an open door to start a conversation or give an invitation. We don’t need to be good with our words; we don’t need to have a 30 minute sermon prepared in response. We just need to put ourselves out there and let the Holy Spirit do the rest! My Cracker Barrel working brother has inspired me and I hope he’s inspiring you too. I’m going to (probably for the first time) pray that God give me boldness to speak to the people that He created in His image. Even if I don’t know them, I at least know that. Each and everyone one of us carries the Image of God like a seal on our soul. Every. Single. Person. There are no exceptions to that. Whether I know someone or not should not preclude me from recognizing that fact. If God loves you, so will I.
Lets go and actually make some disciples y’all. Something tells me I’m gonna need a lot of Jesus and coffee for this one, and I might walk away humiliated a time or two. What are those times gonna matter to me in 10,000 years though, right? I’m praying for us.