6/22/12 Alexis, Ariel late teens
Why did Paul write to Timothy that he should do the "work" of an evangelist? (2 Tim 4:5) Shouldn't sharing the Gospel be easy for people, especially those who are gifted at it? Shouldn't it just come naturally? I remember thinking that it should, and that since it didn't for me then it just wasn't my thing. I spent most of my Christian life making excuses not to take the initiative at openly sharing my faith, and probably my main excuse was that this was God's work, not mine. God should do His work of bringing people to us or to our church who want to hear the gospel, and then we would do our part, I reasoned. That sounded spiritual enough, but the problem is it just isn't biblical. No, we are to do the "work" of an evangelist. So just what is this work? Part of it is getting out of our comfort zone and going, so today Tony and I walked around the neighborhood to initiate gospel conversations. We met Alexis, a local high school student, and Ariel, his cousin from Mexico who speaks very little English. They didn't have many opinions about spiritual matters, but both were willing to answer my questions and hear me out. I spent over half an hour explaining the Gospel in detail, continually checking with Alexis to make sure he was tracking with me and reaffirming points in Spanish so Ariel could also understand. I was explaining biblical truths that I've explained hundreds of times before, but still trying to keep it fresh for these two teens who were hearing it all for the first time. I had to put aside my personal thoughts and activities and give them my complete attention while both listening, speaking, and exercising the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It was hard work, even with the Holy Spirit! But If witnessing was always easy, or fun, or we earned $1000 every time we shared our faith, then way more than 2% of those who claim to be Christians would witness regularly! But the truth is, it IS hard work, plain and simple. After teaching Ariel and Alexis and challenging them with the Gospel, Tony commented that he was growing tired just listening to the conversation. "It was worth every minute we spent with them, but it was hard work" he said. And it gave us the reward that all worthwhile hard work gives - a quiet grateful joy.