This week’s devotions are based on this week’s message: Everyone Outreach! (WATCH HERE)
I remember as a kid growing up periodically going with my parents and guests to our home to tour parts of San Francisco (I grew up in that area). As we would walk along Fisherman’s Wharf (or other tourist parts of town), we would encounter different street artists doing their music or their “living statue” work looking for a few dollars in their donation tin. Usually scattered in the tourists and street artists were what I would call “Modern John the Baptists.” Usually, these individuals were sporting a long scraggly beard and unkempt hair, ragged clothes, and a sign in front of them that said, “Repent, the Kingdom of God is near!” This would often be combined with a portable speaker to broadcast words of condemnation of sin and the impending judgment of God.
To this day, I am curious if anyone will be in heaven because of this “witness” approach. While people would stand and watch other street artists, I only observed myself, parents and others passing by quickly past the street preacher and seeming to ignore his message.
While I can’t necessarily say the message was not theologically correct or perhaps even needed on the hearts of all who passed by, the approach didn’t seem to be resonating with anyone I noticed in the area (Again, my encounter was very brief.)
But perhaps this is the “picture” of evangelism that we sometimes carry, thinking we have to have the bold, in-your-face, condemning sin, confrontational message to bring to people.
To be sure, this courage was admirable and to be honest, probably a boldness we could all admire.
But I wonder if there is another approach…One that would more easily win the trust of a person and the heart for Jesus? Perhaps an approach that would better win an audience for the Gospel is one built on the love we have been shown in Christ.
1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
This is not a love that overlooks sin or is never willing to speak the truth of God’s law to the heart of an individual. (Love is always willing to point out what is spiritually dangerous.) This is love that shows genuine care and concern for another. This is love that is willing to move out of our comfort zone to engage people that are different than us. This is love that is willing to give time when time is at a premium. This is love that is willing to serve others when your to-do list is long. This is love that is willing to see every person as one for whom Jesus lived, died and rose again. This is love that simply reflects the heart of God who loved the world and sent Jesus for the world.
Love that reflects the love of Jesus builds a bridge to a soul that doesn’t know Jesus.
To reach others, love others.
Apply: Ask God to open your heart and eyes to see opportunities to love others today with the love of Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for loving me so much that you did all for me to spend eternity with you. Lead me and help me to love others with the same kind of love to open doors to share your love with them. AMEN.