“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through Hos grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood” (Gal 1:15-16).
We had a great time last month. I thought that the closure of the Olympic Pool and the Community Centre might have caused us to search for another fishing hole. But it was nice to see that the pop-up vege market is helping bringing the people back!
The commission to evangelise is not an easy one to follow. Ray Comfort used to say “evangelism is as exciting as a root canal.” The thought of approaching a complete stranger to talk about their eternity is enough to make a grown man weep (and being one of them, I can attest to that!).
But that’s because we immediately think about our own shortcomings:
The fear that I will be rejected outright
The fear of how my message will be received
The fear of not putting forward a coherent Gospel case
The fear of being asked a question I can’t answer
The fear of [attach your fear here]…
So, how do we know the difference? When can we push through the fear barrier and know what is the right thing to do?
Well, the answer is to not to look to ourselves. In his book “My Utmost for His Highest”, Oswald Chambers writes:
“Service is the overflow which pours from a life filled with love and devotion.
[…] Service is what I bring to the relationship and is the reflection of my identification with the nature of God. Service becomes a natural part of my life. God brings me into the proper relationship with Himself so that I can understand His call, and then I serve Him on my own out of a motivation of absolute love.
[…] Service is an expression of my nature, and God’s call is an expression of His nature. Therefore, when I receive His nature, and hear His call, His divine voice resounds throughout His nature and mine, and the two become one in service. The son of God reveals Himself in me, and out of devotion to Him, service becomes my everyday way of life”.
In short, my devotion to evangelism should match my devotion to God. If my urge to evangelism is low, it is because I do not share the same love towards the lost that God does. I will never reach that sort of perfection in this life, but I can definitely do much better.
The answer is never to look to ourselves for the strength to reach out to the lost. Instead, we should look to the cross.
God’s own Son sacrificed His own earthly life in order to save that lost person, out of love.
And that should be our motivation, too.
Izzy Isn’t Interested
On our witnessing the day after the mosque attacks, I bumped into Izzy. Izzy was a young, heavily-tattooed Maori gentleman. I handed this man a million-dollar tract, and asked what he thought happened after we died.
He answered “We just die. What else is there?”
While he was reading the tract, I asked that I wanted to know what happened next after death. But he was focused on the back of the tract.
He said “This is garbage. You have no proof this is going to happen.”
“What makes you say that?”
“You expect me to believe in Noah’s Ark, someone being eaten by a whale, those fairy tales?”
“None of that is on the tract. What makes you mention those things?”
“Well, isn’t that stuff in the Bible?”
“Yes, it is. But I was just asking what happens after you die.”
“Oh. Well, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you”
“OK, I believe that you will go to a place of peace. Where there is no more sorrow and death.”
“And does everyone get to go there?”
“Not necessarily. If you are good you will”
“Are you good?”
“So, who determines how good you need to be?”
“A higher power”
“Do you mean God?”
“A higher person, but not necessarily the God you are talking about. Just because you believe in the God of the Bible doesn’t mean that is the only way to paradise”
“What other way is there?”
“Allah might be the way. Or Buddha. Whatever gets you there.”
We went on like this, back and forth, for about 5 minutes. For everything I said, he countered, like an endless game of ping-pong.
I handed him a good person tract as well, and said “Look, Izzy, it sounds like you know what is expected of you when you die. All I ask is that you read the information on there, and be honest with what you find. Does that sound OK? He smiled and said “fair enough”. We shook hands and went our separate ways.
Sometimes it is best to let the Gospel do its’ work, and walk away, rather than try to argue the person into the kingdom.
I’ll see you at my place this Saturday, before hitting the streets!