Saturday, June 16, 2007

Take a Look Across the Room

By Charlotte K. Lowrie

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he left a single, all-important charge to those who would follow Him.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.” (Matthew 38:18-20 NIV.)

I read this passage, known as the Great Commission, as applying to all followers of Christ, whether they have the spiritual gift of evangelism or not. And even if you disagree with my view, I have to wonder how we, after receiving such great grace and love, cannot let these divine gifts spill over onto everyone in our lives?

Asking the Hard Questions

The ordinary and extraordinary events of everyday life recently prompted me to ask myself some hard questions about sharing my faith in Christ. Every time I look across the room, or I visualize my far-away friends who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior, I get cold chills.
What if they never heard about the forgiveness, joy, and peace that Christ offers just because I am too fearful, too lazy, or too preoccupied with work to share it with them? Would I regret not sharing the gift of Jesus? Yes! Would I be able to stand before Christ knowing that I had not taken His Great Commission personally? No!

As I look across any room and see people who could miss the greatest experience of a lifetime, my perspective changes. It is that change in perspective that led me to write the list of questions that follow. I share these questions with you in the hope that you will find them useful in your daily walk with Christ.
· When was the last time that you spoke of your faith in conversations with non-believers?
· What is the boldest word you’ve spoken or action you’ve taken for Christ in the past month?
· If a non-Christian asked you why you are so into God, can you tell him or her why? And if you can, would you deliver a long monologue, or would you hunker down for a soul-deep dialogue. Can you listen carefully to the other person’s questions and relate your experiences to their questions and problems?
· Can you talk about your faith in everyday language to non-believers? Can you use contemporary words that non-believers can immediately relate to and understand?
· In two minutes or less, can you tell a non-believer how Christ changed your life?
· Do you ask people to come to church because you’re afraid to or uncomfortable in asking them to come to Christ?
· Do you eagerly jump at the opportunity to say a word for God in conversations, or do you shy away for fear of being politically incorrect?
· Do you talk about your faith as an everyday reality and necessity regardless of who’s in the audience?
· If you knew for certain that the Lord would return next week at this time, which non-believer would you want to share your faith with immediately?
· Can people tell that you are “different;” can they feel that an extraordinary love lives within you and that that love is directed toward them?
· And, finally, do you think of God as being there to serve you, or do you think of yourself as you being here to serve Him?

Regardless of which questions resonate with you, one thing is certain: Time is short. Whether it is the short amount of time left in your life or in the lives of others, or the nearness of the Lord’s return, we have this moment in time to make the Great Commission part of our everyday lives.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b NIV)