I used to think it was such a simple answer. Tell people about Christ. Simple, right?
I don't know, maybe I've got the wrong perspective, but I'm not one of those people to go passing out tracts on street corners. I'm not the type to just smile at a stranger and say, "Isn't it a beautiful day that the Lord has made?" Maybe I ought to be more that way, but my personal belief is that people respond better to the love of Christ, not just some random booklet that tells them how insufficient they are. No, when I look the life of Jesus, I see someone who was focused on relationships--all the time. Who exuded love--even tough love--in every, encounter, building relationships with those who were, by society's standards, the untouchables, the outcasts. The sinners and the prostitutes, the tax collectors and fishermen, the sick, the wounded, the demon-possessed… Never once did he put a scroll in their hand and tell them to have a blessed day--oh, and by the way, Jesus loves you!
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with tracts per se, but I am saying it doesn't seem like the most effective way of sharing one's faith. Just saying…
In recent months however, I have come to really question my ability to "go and preach the gospel." Working at my job, surrounded by unbelievers who say and do some of the vilest things I've ever seen/heard of…what ought to be my reaction towards them? How do I show the love of Christ to people with whom I have nothing in common? Why should they even listen to me?
I'm one of those people who wants to save everybody. It gets me into trouble sometimes because I can be very naive. But when I see someone who's truly broken inside, my first instinct is to want to help. I feel such a burden for these people. Honestly, they keep me up at night. Never mind that they're a hard core partier/sex addict/egotist. I know that common sense does come into play here, especially as a vulnerable, single young woman. But I just can't stand the fact that I can't say all that I would wish to. I feel like my hands are tied, like a doctor holding up an antidote that a dying patient doesn't want to see. Ugh! It's so frustrating. And demoralizing. Because no amount of reasoning can make a person see what's right in front of their face!
I came across a chapter this morning that really ministered to me. Ezekiel 34. I'll just share a few verses with you.
vs. 4 (speaking about the shepherds of Israel) "The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back was driven away, nor sought what was lost…"
vs. 11 "Indeed, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out…(vs. 12) so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scatter on a cloudy and dark day…(vs.13) I will feed them on the mountains of Israel…(vs.15) I will make them lie down…(vs. 16) I will see what was lost and bring back what was driven away, build up the broken and strengthen what was sick…(vs.23) I will establish one shepherd over the, and he shall feed them…(vs.26) I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing, and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing."
I like to imagine what it would be like to have a literal shower of blessings. ;) I don't know about you, but I have a tendency to take long showers. What can I say? I love the feeling of HOT water running through my hair, down my back, cleansing my skin, peeling (more like burning) off the old layers, refreshing me…How much better to be washed in God's blessings, where the source of them never runs dry, where the temperature never turns cold or looses pressure. ;)
These verses so encouraged me to keep on doing what I'm doing. Little by little, shift by shift, binding wounds, seeking what was lost, bringing back what was driven away. So many people have the wrong perception of Christianity. Maybe, just maybe, my witness is evident enough to break down barriers, rebuild trust, and pique interest. That the sex addict/partier who attempts to hide behind his exploits doesn’t need me to infuse Life into his prodigal existence; he just needs me to point the way to the One who can. That the girl who's devastated over her trillionth breakup doesn't need me to play Dr. Laura; merely to point her to the Lover of her soul.
It's encouraging to know that the fate of the world does not rest on your shoulders. And yet, the moment we lose sight of this fact is the very moment we ought to realize--it does. How involved are you in making a difference today? In your little circle of influence, with the people with whom you come into contact. Our mission field doesn't have to be in the jungles of Africa. It's with the next door neighbor who's down on his luck. It's with that annoying coworker who just needs a kind word. It's with that friend or sibling or relative that's hurting despite the "I'm fine."
Bind up the broken. Bring back what's lost. Heal what's sick. And never grow weary of doing good. ;)
May that be our focus today and always.