Philippians 1:27 has been in my heart for the past several days; namely the opening portion of “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:” If Jesus is truly first in our lives, our conversation will drift toward the gospel of Jesus Christ whenever an opening is available. We’ll strive to consistantly be a city set upon a hill and seeking opportunities to share Christ. This is what truly matters; this is where hearts are transformed as, once the word of God goes forth, it will never return void. The foolishness of preaching is Gods chosen method for reaching the lost and he routinely employs tactics that our natural mind will consider to be ineffective and may cause us to feel somewhat uncomfortable.
Each of us have a post to occupy when it comes to the great commission. Not everyone is called to be an evangelist who travels the world, but everyone has an ambience filled with souls. One thing that has been on my heart much these past few days (actually a lot longer, but more intensely these past few days) is just how little time we sometimes spend talking about Jesus to those outside of the household of faith. I know of saints in various venues who are quick to initiate, or jump into, a conversation about work, sports, their family, the remodeling project, and a million other topics. Yet these conversations seem to rarely be guided into a discussion about Jesus where words of life can be given to one who desperately needs them. In short, we engage in a lot of idle conversation (and “idol” conversation) and we know what Jesus said about idle words.
Matthew 12:36-27 “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account for on the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words, thou shalt be condemned.”
One reason that this has been made so manifest is CR. He has become such a bold witness for Jesus; striking up conversations and distributing tracts in places where most wouldn’t think of, that I’ve begun to grasp how little most of us, including myself, are doing. I don’t know if we’re just too comfortable in the bubble that we’ve made for ourselves where everything is familiar, or we just don’t want to take the time to seek every opportunity possible. Or perhaps we feel as though we’re too busy to get more involved; choosing rather to engage in evangelism when it fits our schedule. Regardless of the reasons, we often fail to grasp the seriousness of this. I’ve blown so many opportunities over the years that it’s frightening to ponder. I also wrestle with a “patience deficiency” when it comes to extended dialogue with one who has contrary ideas and I’ve allowed this to become a hinderance way too often.
This has been a problem on the streets as well and is an area that I’m prayerfully addressing. Tracts are easy to pass out and it doesn’t compromise the comfort zone. Stand on a corner in downtown Kalamazoo and one can go through a hundred tracts in a matter of minutes. But this doesn’t excuse one from the need to initiate dialogue when the time is present to do so; regardless of the setting. (Speaking of Kalamazoo, the temperature is supposed to climb into the low 50s on Tuesday which means Bronson Park and Burdick street will be filled with souls. Lord willing, CR and I are desiring to be there) Every person that we encounter during the course of a day may potentially be living out their final hours on planet earth. For everyone that we exchange words with, we may be carrying that persons last opportunity to hear about a Savior who came from glory and paid for their sins with his own innocent blood.
This applies to every venue. When we leave our work, we have no guarentee that every co-worker will return the next business day. We mingle with relatives at family gatherings, having no promise that, once the gathering has ended, we will ever see them again in the land of the breathing. No matter how uncomfortable it may seem at times, we must be about the business of proclaiming the good news of new life in Jesus. I praise God that he has stirred me to more aggressively pursue opportunities to share the gospel. CR has been instrumental in this stirring and another passage comes to mind when I think of how I’ve been shaken out of my comfort zone by a brother in Christ who has quickly become one of the boldest witnesses for Jesus that I’ve ever known.
Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
The word “provoke” appears fourty two times in the King James bible, but this is the only time that the word is used in a positive sense. CR has provoked me to utilize opportunities that I wouldn’t have previously. It’s a “thing that was done suddenly (II Chronicles 29:36) and I am greatful. Last week during dinner, I left the plant to tend to some business and one of these awkward opportunities arose. Not only was the opportunity one that I wouldn’t have sought after before, as I handed the guy a tract, my words didn’t come out smooth at all. I kinda went “blaaaaaaaaah-erk” however, the guy accepted the tract. As I was heading back to the plant, I began to ponder my horrible presentation; being certain that I had ruined the moment. It’s amazing how the Lord responds to things just as we begin to think of them. I was instantly reminded that “his word will not return void” even when we seem to blow it on every level. So Lord willing, I’ll be doing a lot more “blaaaaaaaaah-erk” in the future.
Well I’ve once again broken my “no blogging after midnight” rule, and so I’ll close this for now. Please check out this link to a post that I found yesterday as it addresses an issue which ties in with this post:
CHURCH a SPECTATOR SPORT
CR and I attend different churches, but we both have noticed a common situation. There seems to be a lacking on the part of some to take a more active role in evangelism. I can’t say this is an accurate portrayal and it certainly doesn’t apply to everyone in either fellowship. Yet I fear that none of us truly understand the lateness of the hour or the urgency as we should. I mean, if tomorrow is my next door neighbors last day in the land of the living and he doesn’t know Jesus, THAT’S URGENT! For the sake of those who don’t know Jesus as Savior, we need to start feeling awkward.
Acts 8:4 “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”