Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Don't Pawn It Off

I was recently involved in a conversation where a man asked for prayer that a new "Billy Graham" would be raised up. Of course, his hope is that God will raise another great evangelist to proclaim the gospel around the world. Although I know that his concerns are very legitimate, I am concerned that too many people would like to see another "Billy Graham" so that they could point to someone else who is responsible for their evangelism. Unfortunately, our American Christian society has become so consumed with professional evangelists and evangelical events that many have forgotten that evangelism is the responsibility of every Christian, and not just certain Christians during certain events.

In his book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, J.I. Packer says, Evangelism is the inalienable responsibility of every Christian community, and every Christian man [and woman]. Evangelism is not simply a task for "special" services or for certain Christians. The Great Commission is a command to every Christian. So great, in fact, is the command of Christ that Packer well summarizes it this way:

We should not look for excuses for wriggling out of our obligation when occasion offers to talk to others about the Lord Jesus Christ. If we find ourselves shrinking from this responsibility, and trying to evade it, we need to face ourselves with the fact that in this we are yielding to sin and Satan.

Of course, this is not a free pass to be a Jerk in the name of Christ, but we should see it as a directive driving us to seek out opportunities to share the gospel. Packer suggests,

Whenever I am justified in choosing my subject of conversation with another, the theme of themes (Christ) shall have prominence between us, so that I may learn of his need, and, if possible, meet it.

Remember, we are not often given the opportunity to direct a conversation, but when we are, we are presented with an opportunity to share with another soul the great love of Christ, so don't pawn it off. This is Invest and Invite. Investing in the lives of others and inviting them to share in the grace of Christ, and this is what all Christians have been called to do in Christ.

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