I added this introductory paragraph. A searching of my own heart has prompted me to put this first… To begin with, I must beg your forgiveness and ask for your prayers. If the questions I pose below were a test of some sort, I would fail. I write this to you as a confession—I have fallen short. I know I am not a good example, please believe that I am trying to do better.
Evangelism is perhaps one of the most loaded and sometimes most challenging tasks assigned to all Christians. In fact, evangelism may be one of the truest tests for real discipleship. This doesn’t mean if you are not baptizing you are not a Christian—but it might mean that if you are not intentionally and diligently planting like Paul or watering like Apollos (1 Corinthians 3:6-8) then you are not fulfilling the great commission given to you. And let’s be honest it takes both intention—active, thoughtful and purposeful actions, and diligence—consistency and perseverance in those actions in order to be faithfully planting and watering. Think of the modern farmer. He does not just go out, throw seed, turn on a sprinkler periodically, and expect a great harvest. There is both intention and diligence in what he does. We should do the same. After all, we aren’t merely trying to grow wheat or corn!
So, as you look at the fields of your life take a moment and consider your intentions in evangelism. Do you think about evangelism? Do you consider the condition of family, friends and even strangers, wondering where they will stand with Jesus when He returns? Is your love for them strong enough for you to risk your relationship and reputation to save just one? These questions will help you to identify your evangelism intention, but what about your diligence? How often do you think about evangelism? Jesus sums up all of the law with 2 commands: 1) Love God, and 2) Love others. Does it seem reasonable that bringing people into a real relationship with God is the best way to obey both? If periodic, occasional, fleeting or rare are the adjectives that would describe your evangelistic efforts then perhaps your diligence isn’t where it should be?
I am not saying following Jesus and reaching out to save the lost should consume your whole life—wait, yes I am. It should. Isn’t that the example we see in Acts? Didn’t Peter, James, John, Stephen, Paul, Silas, and so many nameless others commit their lives to doing just that? The commission is great not only because it is one of the most important aspects of following Jesus, but also because it involves everyone who follows Jesus—not just a select few.