Matthew 4:19 (NIV 1984) "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."
Oh my! Excitement filled our home several weeks ago.
The boys lured a squirrel inside with a trail of peanuts. The thud of the slider door sent the furry little creature up the walls, onto the lampshade, on the furniture and underneath the dining room chairs.
Our oldest son finally caught it by slamming down a laundry basket over it. We literally scared the bodily functions right out of this trembling, beady-eyed varmint.
Our six-year-old said, "Can we eat it for dinner? Can we put it on the grill?" Perhaps we have watched too much of the Wilderness Family.
We took pictures while holding it, (of course with Dad's thick shop gloves - the beast was snarling for a piece of flesh), then we released her.
Our oldest remarked, "Man, this is the best day of my life." My closing remarks were, "That little booger gnarled my best laundry basket to death!"
You could say my boys have a sense of adventure in their blood. They are always trying to catch animals. Any animal. The thrill of the catch keeps them hunting. In addition to this squirrel, in the past month alone they have caught a bird, a snake, a lizard, a bullfrog, and a mouse.
Over the fourth of July we took the boys fishing. The first fish hooked within seconds of dropping the line. Then another and another. It was a great day for fishing. Much to our youngest child's delight, we did grill these fine specimens.
That night my husband and I talked with our boys about the large number of fish we caught. We turned the discussion toward the passage in Matthew 4 when Jesus told His disciples, "I will make you fishers of men." Some of the men Jesus spoke to were fisherman by trade. In a very tangible and powerful way Jesus told His disciples His purpose. Jesus came to seek and save the lost; to lead people to the Captain of the boat; the Master Fisherman!
We reminded our boys of all the animals they love to catch, but the greatest catch of all is leading someone to Christ.
All of these "catches" has had me thinking a lot about evangelism. If evangelism was Jesus' top priority, shouldn't it be ours as well? Before it will be lived out as a priority in our lives our hearts need to be broken for those who don't know Christ.
Sharing the Gospel with non-believers means we need to be in their lives and build relationships with them. They need to be our next invitation to dinner or our next outing at a park. Building relationships is vital. Look for opportunities whether at home, work, bank, park, gas station, grocery store, PTA, athletic teams, mall, or day spa.
There are times when I feel inadequate to share, mainly because of fear, intimidation, and not being able to answer all the right questions. But God has challenged my thinking. One of the easiest ways for me to share Christ is by sharing what He has done and is doing in my life.
God also reminds me that I don't need to know all of the answers. No PhD is required to share our faith and neither is it only the "Pastor's" job. In fact, God insists it is my responsibility to share His Truth with non-believers. If we are a Christian, then we are minister's of Christ. It is our responsibility to spread the life saving Gospel message of Christ. A natural overflow of our gratefulness for what God has done in our lives, is to share it with others.
While I certainly appreciate St. Francis of Assisi's quote, "Preach the Gospel at all times, use words when necessary," I think Christians have used this as an excuse to not open their mouths at all. Yes, our lives should bear witness to what we profess. However, there are really good moral people whose lives are admirable, who still don't know Christ.
Matthew 28:18-20 is pretty clear in its teaching, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Making disciples and teaching others is going to require us to open our mouths. St. Francis was instructing Dominican Monks whose lives didn't match what they professed. His statement was a call to holiness and righteous living for those claiming to be Christians.
Let's commit together to have the eyes to see those in desperate need of our Savior, to ache for their unbelief, to establish a relationship with them and be compelled to share God's radical life changing love.
Off to catch some fish . . . or squirrels. :)
Write down your circle of influence: (work, kids' soccer team, kids' school, athletic club etc.).
Ask God to soften your heart to their unbelief and courage to initiate friendship.
Also, if you've never shared your testimony, write it out in 300 words or less and practice sharing.
How can you be more intentional to reach out to non-believers? What do you need to change in order to be more aware of opportunities to share God's love?
Is your heart grieved that people don't know Jesus? Are you compelled because of God's work in your life to share His love?
How can you pray for those you are in regular contact with who don't know Christ?
Heart Transforming Word:
Matthew 9:12 (NIV) Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Luke 10:2 "He told them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.' "
Matthew 28:19-22 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."
Copyright 2010 by Hester Christensen. Edited 2012. All rights reserved.