The most training that I’ve received on evangelism suites the ‘if you’re on a bus with a stranger and you have the opportunity to share the gospel in 5 minutes, what do you say?’ scenario. Which is great! We need to be able to always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks us to give an account for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15). But today I want to discuss a different type of evangelism. Where it doesn’t end when the stranger steps off the bus, but it’s you clinging to a friend and to Jesus over months and years.
Because that’s hard and it’s really easy to give up. Especially if the friendship involves a lot of you giving and not a whole lot of you receiving; it can tax us into letting the friendship fade. But what we need in scenarios like this is not a better how-to plan of stick with your troubled friend. No, because I don’t like to see people that God plants in our lives as duties. No, they’re invitations. From God. Into His heart. Can I repeat that?
God plants people in our lives as invitations into His heart, not as duties that demand work.
Hebrews 12 says, “Who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame…” What was that joy set before Him? I think it was us. Our new relationship with the Father, the Holy Spirit inside of us, the right standing beautiful family of God was that joy. And He sets before us joy with each broken life we meet. He sets before us the hope of what could become beautiful family relationships.
When we choose to love someone, and I don’t mean this coldly, we make an investment. We give up our time, money, affection, and in the end all of our rescources and in return the Kingdom advances; its glory shines into the dark world surrounding your friendship and shows the world how good, how great, how awesome is our Jesus.
The investment you make in another’s life, so that they know Christ more, that they experience Jesus and the true fellowship of His saints is more than simply a beacon to the outside world – it’s a beacon to the one you’ve clung to. Sure, you’ll mess up, botch it all, but being perfect, that’s not the point. And we do make messes relationally, no doubt. But it’s never about our perfection and always about His. Because when you cling to that one who can’t believe God could be near, they feel arms around them and they hear His promises whispered and hope – brighter than any of the enemies lies, gets planted deep in the soul of that beloved.
Because when you cling to that one who can’t believe God could be near, they feel arms around them and they hear His promises whispered and hope – brighter than any of the enemies lies, gets planted deep in the soul of that beloved.
Don’t you see beloved, it’s about that one. That one beloved of God’s in your life who needs. We, the children of the most connected, wealthiest, all powerful God can draw near. We can step up face to face with those desperate needs, listen, provide what we can and call upon our Papa to provide every one of their needs. And because His heart is so desperately for them, so desperate He sent His son to die as their ransom… What will He withhold???
And because His heart is so desperately for them, so desperate He sent His son to die as their ransom… What will He withhold???
Those verses sometimes sound to me as if God were a genie – ask and poof poof poof! your wishes are granted. And sometimes they are! To the glory of our God! And sometimes those requests we make seem like we’ve put the wrong address on them and they’ve been returned to sender. But I want to be even a bit more pushy than I already have been today and suggest that our God is big.
Currently I’m sitting on the beach, a seagull keeping one eye on my blueberry muffin. Today there are tons of shells on the shore and as the waves roll up over them, I imagine how my mom used to tuck me into bed and I think to myself, the shells are getting tucked in. But as I sit and pray, and the seagull stalks me, I wonder about how God knew that all of these birds would find their daily meals here. And He fills my mind and says yes, He knew and that He loves providing for each of these birds… this seagull, that pelican floating out in the water, the little one skipping down playing chase with the waves. All of them. And Jesus whispers to me… I made the way. I created the world. I am The Provider. And I get it, but I don’t too. See, right now I’m pleading with Him for a friend, one I’ve clung to. My requests seem so grand and complicated, but His gentle promises in Matthew 6 tuck me into peace, and the worry that He’s not gonna “be enough” flees.
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not of more value than they?”
Pause to Consider
*Who in your life has needs?
*How could you pray for them? If you don’t know, have you tried to find out?
*What is one thing that you could do to love them today?