Jesus used to walk around town
It was about 2000 years ago and half a world away from my town, but Jesus really did rub shoulders with regular people. He hung out with them, had meals with them, and did a little traveling with some friends.
Last week I was involved in a conversation about sharing the gospel.
The spark was a comment made by a guy who said he always saw the same faces at church.
Why weren’t there any new faces?
Where were all the new believers?
You know like the book of Acts thing—“and the Lord added to their numbers day by day those that were being saved”.
I’ve been thinking about it all week.
Why don’t we see new faces at church?
Then I thought to myself, when was the last time I really reached out to someone the way Jesus did?
Doing what He did
What was it like to be around Jesus, to hang out with Him?
What was He like? Stern, critical, über-spiritual?
If anyone had the right to act Holier-than-Thou it was Jesus, but I can’t find a place in the Gospels where He did.
And when others did, He called ’em on it.
He kinda got in their faces and said, ‘Got anybody in the group without sins of their own? That guy or gal should throw the first stone.’
And yeah, there were never any takers in the group.
Jesus took people just as He found them.
When He met a woman at a well He invited her to give Him a drink. She was not a Jew. She was not an upright citizen. She was a flawed woman with a sketchy past currently living in a non-approved relationship.
Before He judged her, criticized her, or tried to convince her to clean-up her act, Jesus offered her the free gift of eternal life ~ living water that would quench the thirst for God, a thirst she had, but didn’t recognize as a thirst for what it really was.
When Jesus met Zacchaeus He flat out invited Himself over for a meal.
It was Zacchaeus who decided on his own that there were some things in his life that needed to change.
Show people more of God’s grace
Wouldn’t it be great if Christians were as gracious as Jesus?
If we’d show love and reserve judgement and condemnation, instead of the other way around.
Can we just trust that God can work out the junk in others like He does in us.
Can we leave that to Him?
I’ve known Jesus for over 50 years and I’m still a sinner.
Why would I expect people who are still thirsting for God to have no sin?
Why raise the bar for them when Jesus didn’t raise it for us, or for anybody He met.
If you met Jesus at Target
If you met Jesus at Target, or the grocery store, or getting the oil changed at Jiffy Lube, He’d talk to you.
He’d say, “Hey, let’s get coffee” and the love you felt from Him would draw you in.
You’d see Him seeing you and you’d know that even though He knew all about you and all your yucky stuff, you’d know He wants you and He loves you just there way you are.
And in that moment you’d be overwhelmed by the longing in your heart to know God.
It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance.
It’s divine love that draws us to God.
Be a disciple
What does it mean to be a disciple? It means to be a follower, a learner, but it also means being a copycat.
Doing what He did. Talking to people and letting God’s grace and love flow through us to them. Engaging with them in regular activities like having a coffee or sharing a meal. Jesus came to minister the love of God to regular people. The kind you meet in Target with a crying kiddo sitting in the cart. Or that one in the line who seems impatient with everyone else in the whole store. Or the lonely one, or the sad one, or the one that God points out to you when you ask Him to show you who to talk to. It’s time we open our eyes and our hearts to the people around us who are hungry to know the true and living God.
Every encounter is a divine opportunity
I don’t want to waste opportunities to share God’s love with people in my town that He brings across my path. How about you?
Think about your latest interaction with a person you think doesn’t know God YET.
Did they feel God’s love through you? What do you think you did or said that could have conveyed it?
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he that wins souls is wise.
Real life evangelism
If you’ve been winning souls please spill the beans about your experiences. Tell us about your conversations and interactions. How do you start? What do you say? How do you communicate a real interest in someone and their life?
I’ll close with a comment I heard years ago from a very soft spoken missionary. He said if he thinks about himself he gets paralyzed, but when he thinks of the person in front of him, facing the struggles of this life and an eternity cut off from God, it gives him boldness tempered by love, inspired by the Holy Spirit and informed by the truth of John 3:16.
Please jump over to Instagram and share a quick comment on being a disciple and sharing your faith. Are you fearful and shy or brave and bold?