Why can’t we go? Many of us have excuses as to why we cannot go on mission for Jesus. We say that I don’t have time; I don’t have money; it is not my calling; I am not physically able to go. Our excuses are often legitimate ones, but they should not stop us from fulfilling the mission of Jesus Christ. We may not be able to go but that shouldn’t stop us from going.
In Jesus day people still gave great excuses which sounded plausible to them. Maybe we can identify. Jesus gave a great evangelism parable in Luke 14:15-23. A man is wanting to give a great banquet and invite his friends to come in and eat. Here are their excuses:
- I bought some land, and I’ve got to look it over. (Luke 14:18)
- I bought five teams of oxen, and I need to try them out. (Luke 14:19)
- I’ve just now married, and I can’t come. (Luke 14:20)
- Let me first go and bury my father. (Matthew8:21)
Some modern day excuses might be:
- I’ve started a new job.
- I’m too tired; I’ll do it tomorrow.
- I don’t have time.
- I don’t have money.
- I have too much homework.
On the surface, these excuses are good excuses for why someone can’t go, but they are still excuses. Jesus has given us a clear command in Matthew 28:18-20 to “Go to the people of the nations and make them my disciples.” We should not make excuses for why we cannot go, but rather say to what extent you want me to go?
The other day, I heard a great example of Matthew 28:18-20 given, however, using a different translation. The speaker changed the wording just a little to say, “Go into every one’s world and make them disciples.” An interesting twist, but what does it mean to go into everyone’s world? Honestly, it means that wherever there is someone that has breath in their being there will be a disciple to be made.
We may not be called to the Yucatan Jungle or the Saharan desert but we are still called to a world that is lost and dying without a savior.
Some are called to go to India; Africa; Australia; Europe; but, where are you called to go? If we go off this new definition of the passage then you are called to a world that you might least expect. God placed you into the world that you are currently in for a specific purpose. He did not drop you into this world where you are just so you could twiddle your thumbs.
Jesus gave the command to his disciples to go into everyone’s world, and thus, giving us that command in retrospect. If there is an individual that has breath and does not know Jesus they are the world that we are called to infiltrate. The person that you are drawn to talk to may very well be:
- An orphan of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico
- A shoeless widow living in Africa
- The barista at your local Starbucks
- The mechanic working on your car
- The parent of a child being picked up at daycare
- The businessman in the cubicle next to yours
There are many people in this world. Many stories. Many hurts that need to be healed. In this world there are still many people lost and in need of a savior—even right here close to home.
True evangelism is about relationship. There is a time for confrontational evangelism, but a large amount of successful evangelism that you personally will be a part of will be taken place in your day to day activities. The true witness of Christian character is not one that is spoken but how one might react to certain situations.
Effective evangelism takes a lot of love, compassion, and patience. In fact, we know effective evangelism takes a lot of love because of what Jesus tells us in John 13:35. He says, “If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.” However, love is not some gooey sentiment; it is godly service, which means when the infatuation of the moment is worn off and what is left is people then we can really love regardless of the persons situation. In this we know that a relationship style evangelism will take some getting out of your comfort zone and sometimes some getting your hands dirty.
Reference from Luke 10:25-29
A certain man, an expert in the law, asked Jesus a question. He said, “Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus answered, “What is written in the Scriptures? How to understand them?” The man replied, “They say:
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus said, “You have given the right answer. If you do this you will have eternal life.” Being the pious man that he was the expert in the law asked, “Who is my neighbor?”
What an interesting conversation. We know of two things that is all to be required to gain eternal life:
- Love God.
- Love man.
However, Jesus goes some steps further and gives the man a parable of someone neighborly. We all know it as the Good Samaritan story. It was not the one who was the priest, or the one who spent his time around the temple that was the most neighborly, it was the one who had compassion for the man that had been robbed and beaten up; He took him, cleaned him up, and had him doctored.
Sometimes what it means to be neighborly is to reach down into a person’s situation and bring them out of a dark despair. They may not realize they are hurting, but they are depressed all the same. They may know that they are hurting and putting up a façade to try to mask their pain.
I was reading an article from the intervarsity website (www.intervarsity.com). It says,
“Christians easily disengage themselves from much of non-Christian society. We dig foxholes of fellowship so deep that we become like soldiers who have lost contact with the enemy. People have needs to be listened to, to be spoken t. Beneath the veneer of party, self-confidence, brains, kindness, happy-all-the-time, there’s a real person: morally confused, socially dependent, religiously ignorant, and spiritually dead. Someone who comes to him in openness, in love and in understanding is welcome.”
People are people just like you, or I, they want to feel like someone cares. If we can give them that and be genuinely interested then there is an in route to leading them to Jesus.
If we are to win souls for the kingdom of heaven we must be doing an active part to reach souls for the kingdom of heaven. We don’t have to be involved in x-amount of programs, or go door-to-door to x-amount of houses; it is the little things that mean the most. Listen to this example from the same article on intervarsity’s website:
“On the first day of my freshman year at the university, as I as unpacking my books a great opportunity appeared. I laid my Bible down on my desk. My new roommate saw it and said, “Oh no! You’re not some kind of ____ ___ Christian, are you?” I wasn’t sure how to answer because of the strong words he used. But just because I took my Bible out and laid it there I was visible. And because he knew that I was a Christian he was able to watch me.
Amazingly, he talked to many of the 200 guys in my dorm about me. Guys I had never met before would stop me and say, “Hey, I hear you’re some kind of religious person. Tell me about it.” My non-Christian roommate opened many doors for me just because of the Bible I unpacked.”
Subtlety Works. He didn’t have to say anything. The only thing he did was unpack his bible and doors were opened for him to be a witness for Jesus.
How can we apply this lesson to our lives? What are some subtle things that we can do to spark conversation between individuals?
- Leaving a bible on your desk at work or dorm room.
- Wearing a Christian pin or necklace.
- Having a Christian radio station sticker on the bumper of your car.
- Writing positive and encouraging things on your Facebook or Twitter wall.
- Not getting upset when you lose a video game.
—The List can go on forever. How can you subtly start conversations with others?—