Some of my random thoughts on life and what happens
:: Saturday, November 24, 2002 ::
There are two words that scare Christians and non-Christians alike, EVANGELISM. It evokes the same response from the hearers as the word “Mofassa” in the Lion King or Voldemort in Harry Potter (Am I allowed to read that as a Christ follower?). Evangelism is the message of good news! Why do we all shrink away from it? I think part of the reason is that we’ve missed the essence of what Evangelism really means. Webster defines evangelism in the following way:
Main Entry: evan·ge·lism
Militant or crusading zeal! What the heck, have we screwed up so bad? Drifting eons away from Jesus Himself saying: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. When we went through our Vacation Ownership Spiel I realized that Webster’s definition is much more true than we would like to admit.
Mighty Mouse continually reassured us that they were not into high-pressure sales but everything they did showed the opposite. We felt like her project for the afternoon – if we really have clout then we will buy but remember they’re not into high pressure sales. The lunch was an attempt to coerce us into dropping our guard, it was also an opportunity for her to create a project profile of us. She asked questions about our lives that seemed like interest on the surface, in actuality it was more of a scientific method. When we refused her and Stingray’s deal, they stung us and left us with a sarcastic smirk. We were pissed.
Eight years ago a man who was badly clothed and smelled showed me that I reeked inside. It was a boring day at church, full of pride I decided to walk out of the service and do real worship and work for God. He stood in the street outside the sanctuary and asked me if I saw the movie “A river runs through it”.
Yes, I replied, and started my project profile on him.
Do you like watching movies?
Yeah I love it.
What was the message you got out of the movie?
That life should be lived to the fullest.
Do you believe that you can say that’s true of you right now?
He gave no answer and evaded the question. I continued to probe with jabs aimed at showing him that he really needed what I had. The conversation continued with me forming his profile. According to my profile he was a drug junky and an alcoholic who’s making a huge mess of his life. He is a bum that will probably try to squeeze some money out of me shortly. Internally I was blackening him, outwardly I painted a pretty picture with courtesy and smiles. In my mind this ‘project of mine’ will repent in a few minutes and see the light!
Then God intervened, the bum looked me straight in the eyes in said to me:
I’m only another tick on your list, am I not? You don’t really care about me. I’m your project! You can’t wait to get back to your friends to tell them that you’ve made another convert.
He turned around and walked away, he was right and I repented. In that moment he became the messenger and I the recipient. That evening I read Jesus’ words in Matthew 23:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.”
OUCH. Sitting there with Mighty Mouse I was reminded that we should honor God by seeing all people as His and not reduce them to a project. Projects easily discarded if they don’t fit into our plan. It also forced me to see that maybe my plan sucked, maybe I was a son of hell in my blackened state and motivation.
Arguably it was acceptable for Mighty Mouse to profile us, but it’s definitely unacceptable for Christ followers to do that, to God’s people created in His image. We are called to love not profile.
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
What a difference it would make if we treat all people as loved by God!
Tomorrow I will share part3.