8/12/16 Juan about 25
Are you serious about sharing the Gospel? I had to ask myself that about 7 years ago when I tried to begin several sidewalk Gospel conversations and only received responses of “No hablo Inglés”. I remember thinking to myself. “Ok, this is a problem. They don’t speak English, and I don’t speak Spanish. So what am I going to do about it?” I could use it as a convenient excuse not to share the Gospel, or I could use it as motivation to learn their language.
I chose to learn Spanish because that’s the second-largest language group I encounter where I live. And now I’m so glad I did, years later, every time I happen upon someone who needs to hear the Gospel in Spanish. People like Juan, about 25, who was confused about the difference between faith in his “buenas acciones” (good deeds), or having faith in Jesus.
Language learning has been (and continues to be) a long road, especially for someone at my age. But it is definitely worth the hard work. As I have continued sharing the Gospel in English and gaining that experience, learning Spanish has become part of my long-term commitment to sharing the Gospel with even more people.
I imagine sharing the Gospel in another language is something like how the Olympians feel when all their hard work pays off and they win a medal. Imagine if an Olympic athlete, after a hard-fought victory, were to hear a casual observer explain away their success by calling them “gifted”. Sure, they need natural talents and abilities, but what about all the years of hard work and training and self-sacrifice? What about all the experience they have gained along the way in lesser-known competitions? What about all the failures that led up to that success?
Many Christians write off sharing the Gospel by saying they don’t have the “gift of evangelism”. But nowhere does the Bible refer to evangelism as a “gift” – just as it doesn’t refer to prayer or reading the Bible as a gift. The office of “evangelist” referred to in Ephesians 4:11 is just part of a list of roles in the church including pastors and teachers who are to “equip his people for works of service”. These are church leaders who help coach the rest of the church to do what we are all expected to do, including sharing the Gospel.
No, evangelism is not a “gift” limited to only a few Christians. If we have come to a faith-relationship with Jesus, we have a story that is worth sharing. And it is worth improving upon our ability to share it with even more people through a lot of obedience, faithfulness, and hard work, more for some, less for others. I am so glad those who shared it with me were willing to put forth that effort. Are you serious about sharing the Gospel?