Do you know much about the prophet Jonah in the Old Testament—besides that he spent some time in the belly of a big fish? Did you know that he ended up in that predicament because he was unwilling to go and share God’s message to people who needed to hear it?
Maybe you think to yourself—what’s the deal with Jonah? If God wanted you to share a message with people, you’d certainly do it. Isn’t that right? You wouldn’t blatantly disobey God, would you?
Before condemningly being judgmental of Jonah, is it possible that we need to look in the mirror?
Isaiah 52:7 says: “How beautiful is the person who comes over the mountains to bring good news, who announces peace and brings good news, who announces salvation.” How are we doing in connecting with family and friends and sharing with them the message of salvation and hope and love through Jesus which is good news everyone needs to hear?
Some of us may think that we’re doing what we can right now to share the gospel. Instead of reaching out and actually trying to connect with our neighbors as we should, we choose what we think is a simpler approach—prayer. We think that our well-intentioned prayers by themselves are enough to result in folks coming to faith in Christ.
Ed Stetzer wrote an article called: “Do You Really Care about Evangelism? If So, You Need to Do More Than Pray” in which he said that prayer alone will not save a single soul. Prayer is the starting point, not the endpoint, in helping people from darkness to light. If we truly follow Jesus, the reality that so many people wander through life apart from his love should motivate us to share the hope that we have in Christ.
Now, it’s important to recognize that each of us is likely to approach sharing the good news of God’s love differently. For some of us, starting a conversation with someone and asking questions and hearing people’s stories so that we can have a conversation about faith comes more easily. For others, engaging in acts of service or hospitality and then talking about faith may come more naturally.
During our church’s JourneyCares outreach last month, Debbie and I hosted a neighborhood party in our yard in order to build relationships. We started a facebook group just for our neighbors so that we might connect with them for other activities, and so far over 75 people have joined that group. We’re hoping to have a “Cookies, Coffee and Cocoa” party in our home during the Christmas season and invite neighbors just as a way of caring for them. You’re invited to do this as well, and if you’d like help in planning it, just let someone on our Journey staff know.
For more ideas on how to be the love of Christ
to your neighbors, download here.