I’ve made a habit these days of asking myself, “Why do I do what I do?”
Why do I eat what I eat? Wear what I wear? Say what I say? Think what I think? Go where I go? Live how I live?
Why do I do it?
Today’s thought: I love to share the gospel with people, and I do so on a regular basis. But why?
Why do I share the gospel? And why do I love it?
My evangelism background goes something like this . . .
I read a tract to a young girl when I was less than 12 years of age, and she “prayed the sinner’s prayer.” I later realized I had no idea what I was doing. As is the case for many Christians, evangelism became incredibly intimidating and, thus, infrequent. Until a friend showed me some simple steps to evangelism. I quickly learned that evangelism is . . . a bit intimidating, yes, but also one of the most amazing things ever!
I started organizing small witnessing events. Then, as God would have it, I began serving at a pregnancy resource center, where I was truly overjoyed to find that sharing the gospel would be a regular and vital part of my mentoring responsibilities.
With these weekly opportunities and the occasional witnessing event, I now consider evangelism to be a significant part of my life. And I love it.
Is it because my friend does? Because it’s fun? Because it makes me look good? Because it gives me some kind of thrill?
Or is it because I should. Because I’m commanded to do so. Because – the Bible leads me there.
That’s the answer I’m looking for.
But, interestingly enough, the Bible doesn’t tell me to evangelize or to love evangelism. The word “evangelist” [euaggelistes] appears three times. Let’s consider each.
1. Phillip was an evangelist (Acts 21:8).
Way to go, Phillip.
2. Some were gifted to be evangelists.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. Eph 4:11-12
Note these are distinctly male positions in the church. But gender aside, it is clear that not all are gifted to be evangelists.
3. Timothy was told to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim 4:5).
It doesn’t say he was an evangelist. It says he should do the work an evangelist does. I enjoy sharing the gospel on a regular basis. That makes me neither a missionary nor an evangelist, but rather someone who simply enjoys sharing the gospel regularly.
But we still haven’t answered my question.
So the Bible doesn’t tell me to evangelize, per se. But what about . . .
Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you. 1 Pet 3:15
“But that’s when they ask,” you say.
Might as well initiate. When I ask them about their “hope,” many will politely ask me about mine.
Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. How are they to hear without someone preaching? Rom 10:14, 17
“Preaching” denotes the simple act of proclamation. Someone must proclaim the gospel. Why not me?
[The gospel] is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. Rom 1:16
I have the gospel of salvation, and I know how to find people who need saving. The logical conclusion would be to find them and share it, yes?
Evangelism for the Christian, then, is a no-brainer. Perhaps the bigger question is, Why do I love it?
Because I’ve done it. I’ve walked up to people who eyed me skeptically, some barely offering a word, others asking question after question. I’ve sat across from dozens of “Christians” who recognize the problem of sin, who “believe in God,” who know about Jesus’ death on the cross, and who hope they’ll get to heaven someday riding solely on the powerless train of good works. I’ve met many a wandering soul staring hopelessly into the emptiness of life, and I’ve answered the longing through the words, “Jesus saves.” I’ve talked to self-proclaimed “atheists,” individuals who have never considered eternity, and others who stood with jaw literally dropped, blurting out, “He really came back to life?”
And in every instance – with every person – I walk away with a deep sense of sympathy and compassion, a great and powerful urgency, and a smile on my face that gives but a tiny glimpse into the inescapable wonder and delight rising up in my heart.
The gospel mercifully reached even me, and I have the pure joy of telling the world.
That is why I evangelize. And that is why I love it.
[image credit: Wikipedia Commons & journeyoftheword.com]