I find that I’m enjoying writing down my quiet times like this, it helps to process what I’m thinking so much better. Of course, I will desperately miss posting them here, since I’ll be moving on to a new habit. Hmm, have to figure that one out.
Anyway, on the drive in I had on my mind a combination of of Biblical examples of Jesus straightforwardly telling His followers what to do. My issue is with how we carry out His commands today.
1st example: The Great Commission Matthew 28 19-20
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
2nd example: After Jesus washed the disciples feet in the upper room John 13:15
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
From my understanding, Jesus didn’t mince words. He was direct with those closest to Him. These two separate commands are equally serious and straightforward. No metaphors or allusions, no parables. His commands are as true today as they were then. Though, why is it that every one of those close followers lived out those commands, and today we struggle with both?
I can only attest to my own journey and observations. As for the Great Commission, I can sum it up to fear–of looking stupid, not having the right words, being rejected. But that means I’m making it about me and my insecurities instead of being about Jesus’ power to save. In this, I’m like Peter, trying to step out of the boat. I see the great waves around me and I take my focus off of Jesus.
Serving, however, is a part of my nature. I enjoy serving others–it’s part of why I love missions. But I’ve found that I do it on my own terms–when and where I want to, and who I want to serve. Recently, I’ve experienced God’s prompting to serve in an area that makes me uncomfortable. Honestly, I don’t want to, but after several months of these people being on my heart, well…I know the story of Jonah, I know what happens when we tell God “no”.
From what I’ve learned, it’s not really about the service. It’s about obedience. God can use the service to other in whatever manner He chooses. So my obedience is making contact with those in charge to see about serving. That’s the first step–and it was a hard one.
Serving isn’t in everyone’s nature. While I was growing up, I rarely saw my parents serve outside their comfort zone. I understand they did some service before they were Christians, but I never really got to see that being “fleshed out” as an example.
I’m sure there are a multitude of reasons why people don’t evangelize or serve. I’m not terribly concerned with that because until they get out of the “self-mode”, they are wasting their salvation. But I feel there are people who want to serve and evangelize, but feel overwhelmed and without the tools they need. So for those, I encourage you to start where you are the most–work, home, school. Begin to serve others as a first step. Be an example to your children (or your parents, or your students, or your classmates). When you are comfortable with that, take another step and serve at your church (or an organization where you live). But for Jesus’ above command–I encourage you to serve outside of church as well.
You see, serving others is a great way to indirectly evangelize, it can also be a great conversation starter as to why you are serving. That alone can give you an opportunity to tell others about your journey. Real evangelism isn’t necessarily about walking up to strangers with a tract–it can also be about building relationships with others as you serve them, because our lives can be the greatest witness.