Friday, January 25, 2008

maybe not today

Is my evangelism a failure if the one to whom I speak does not, in the end, embrace my beliefs? Not at all. Evangelism isn't really about you; it's about the one you encounter. Just as a day of fishing is a glorious day regardless of the catch — outdoors, on the water, seeing animals and plants and feeling your human closeness to all of them — so a moment of showing Christ to another is good of itself. Christ brings us into community, and does so no matter what words (if any) are used to describe his work in the world. —Barbara Crafton

Oh how I need to hear this. On a regular basis. Every day. More than once every day. There's too much pressure with the term evangelism... there's the pressure from scripture that says "get out there and convert the world!" There's the pressure from peers in other denominations for which evangelism has been elevated to an art form. There is the internal pressure from my own heart to share what for me, is, in fact, good news.

I think the last one is all that matters. I don't really care what the Bible says about converting the world. I'm not sure I believe there is only one way, or one truth, although the example of Jesus is the way and the truth for me. If I feel more at peace, more able to contend with the evil I encounter, more willing to suck it up in situations where my anger would only make matters worse... because of my belief in and understanding of Jesus, why wouldn't I want to share that with others? Here's why:

Sharing and telemarketing are not the same thing. Offering insight and cramming advice down someone's throat are not the same thing. Giving freely because giving is the point and giving to earn brownie points with God are not the same thing. It's not a competition. Evangelical efforts must spring from joy, not duty, or some sense of a battle that must be won. Competing only shifts the emphasis back to ourselves. Did I make a difference today? Maybe not today. Maybe today was someone else's day. Get over it.

1 comment:

merryn said...