Many know that for the last few months I've been involved in an evangelism residency course through a ministry called Evangelize Today, led by Allan Dayhoff. Honestly, it's one of the best things I've been involved with in quite a while. We probably all agree that evangelism is one of those things we know we need to be doing, we have ample opportunities to do, we feel a little guilty because we aren't doing it, and really do plan on doing it ... starting tomorrow.
Even though I'm fully engaged in this exciting ministry I still feel exactly the same way - the burden, guilt, procrastination, etc. I think this is because I've not yet mastered the very first aspect of what Allan has tried to teach me in my training ... the art of being still before the Lord! If I continue to look at evangelism as something "to do" then it'll remain something "to do" and just like the millions of other things on my "to do" list it'll get shoved aside and never actually get done. But as I wait upon the Lord, as I learn to sit quietly at His feet, as I learn to listen to His voice speaking so vividly through the Scripture, as I learn to reflect upon His beauty as exhibited in creation, as I become more convinced that He cares for me and is listening to me then this evangelism thing just overflows out of the abundance of my heart! I'm learning that evangelism isn't a project, strategy, program, or task to perform but rather just simply living out the Christian life and letting the grace that I've been so lavishly given flow out to others.
Even though I know this, am currently writing you about it, and could probably teach a pretty good lesson on it, it's the very thing I struggle with the most. I recently ran across a quote from PCA pastor Scott Sauls that whacked me over the head: "While Martha is busy trying to be like Jesus, Mary spends her energy being with him. And in being with him, Mary becomes like Him."
How many of us are trying to be like Jesus, to do what He did, to live like He lived? I sure am, and I suspect most of us are. After all, we continue to hear rattling around in the back of our minds, WWJD? But trying so hard to do that isn't going to accomplish it. Scott Sauls is right, being "with" Jesus is what shall transform us.
Allan Dayhoff is also right ... us being "with" Jesus is what shall ultimately work to transform our communities, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, etc. I truly have the desire to see the Gospel spread in this community and that desire has taken me into some difficult and unexpected places so far. But more and more I'm realizing that the place I MUST go each and every day is that place of quiet rest at the feet of Jesus where I allow the beauty and power of the Gospel to penetrate my heart, building up such that I can't suppress the overflow of it as I give my life to others. This overflow becomes the "doing" that I get so obsessed with at times.
Even though December is such a busy month, let's be sure we don't forsake consistent time sitting in the presence of Jesus. This is what will transform both us and the surrounding community!