This week I had an interesting opportunity presented to me. One of my friends from Croatia invited me to download a walkie-talkie app to test and see if we could communicate from across the world. We found out that we could, and our minds were blown. My friend quickly began speaking with people from all over the world, and I joined in on her conversation with two people from India. During our conversation, we got on a topic about who created the sun. It was very interesting to speak with someone who knew about the Creation and Abraham stories based on the Quran and not the Bible. This quickly led to a discussion about our beliefs about God and how he reveals himself. My friend and I had the opportunity to speak about our beliefs and although both parties remained rooted in their beliefs, it was amazing to have the opportunity for this discussion. When recounting the story to a different friend later, I joked that it was a moment of “Low-Risk Evangelism.” However this phrase that I used got me thinking…
Evangelism is the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness. Our message, the Good News, is literally the most important message anyone could hear. So why then are we afraid to risk our reputation, friendships, image, and pride for the sake of the Gospel? All these things dim in comparison to the amazing news that we are forgiven because of Jesus. The weight of the Gospel outweighs everything else, so then everything should be considered “Low-Risk Evangelism.” Suddenly it is not a big deal if we suffer because of the Gospel. We are not concerned with the risks, but only with sharing the best message ever.
I had similar thoughts when I was in Edinburgh, Scotland during the Fringe when I was using a chicken puppet to invite people to a free Christian puppet show (trust me, it was not the craziest thing there). For three days, I was tasked with walking around the streets of Edinburgh passing out flyers to invite people to come to a puppet show where the Gospel would be presented. All around me there were people flyering for various acts, some of which you had to pay to get into. On one particular occasion another person passing out flyers for a paying performance beat me to hand out the flyer. When I saw them jump in front of me I shrunk back and thought “that’s okay, they have more at stake anyway. They have to earn money from this.” Then I stopped dead in my tracks (in the middle of the Royal Mile) and I realized that no, the message I was sharing was infinitely more important than earning money. What they needed is not something that could be bought, but grace that comes from Jesus Christ. That shifted my perspective entirely and I was no longer afraid to go up to people and share what we were doing. They might gain instant satisfaction by going to another performance, however our puppet show presented them with the opportunity to make a decision that lasted for eternity. I immediately started flyering like crazy, and eventually had to return to get more flyers because I ran out!
When I look at martyrs I am overwhelmed by the extent of their conviction that even unto death, they belong to the Lord. During one of my classes, I read the martyrdom of Polycarp and again it reminded me of this truth. These martyrs knowingly accepted brutal deaths because they had complete faith that God was above the suffering. Our fears about evangelism stems from pride in placing other things above God. When we evangelize we should keep the mindset of the martyr, that nothing comes before the Lord.
In summary, I have been learning that nothing compares to the sovereignty of God. How selfish it would be for me to deprive someone of hearing the Gospel for the sake of my own fears or reputation? I have realized that all evangelism is “low-risk” because I understand that I can loose everything, but nothing will ever separate me from the love of God. I must choose then, to follow God no matter the cost, because it is not me that matters, but him and his will.