Any serious Christian wants those they care about to come to know the Lord, but how do you go about this? So many are closed to preaching of the gospel. Many, even from other religious backgrounds, have become “secularized”, and much of what is going on in the world puts a very bad name on Christianity. How do we go about sharing the gospel with those we love?
In order to answer this question, we need to look no farther than Jesus’ example: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve…” (Mark 10:45 ESV).
When asked by John the Baptist’s disciples if He was the prophesied one, what was His response? “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.” (Luke 7:22 ESV). As wonderful as it was, Jesus didn’t use His preaching to prove that He was the Messiah. Instead, He showed them signs and wonders. He loved them. He cared for them. And as a result, they flocked to Him.
If this worked for Jesus, then why not for us? If people are deafened to hearing about the gospel, then perhaps showing them Jesus through our kindness is the only “sermon” they will listen to! Remember: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10 ESV)
Wait. Is this some kind of a cop-out? I mean, it’s a lot easier to be nice to people than it is to preach at them!
Remember that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice. Being a reflection of Jesus requires that we be willing to sacrifice our time, our talent and our resources for those in need of help. No matter what the cost, we must remember that our actions may be the only “sermon” some people will ever hear.
Does this really work?
Consider the following true story that happened recently to someone close to me. We will call him “Bob”…
Bob had a close friend, someone who was like a sister to him. His friend, who we will call Mira, is a foreign student, from a country where Christians are actively persecuted. She is not a believer, in fact, she does not practice any religion at all, not even the religion of her own country. She sees no need for religion in her life.
Bob had been praying for Mira for the past two years. Recently, an unfortunate turn of events resulted in tragedy in Mira’s family. In the ensuing weeks of grief, Bob took off work to be there for her. He helped her as much as he could, providing her with much-needed 24-hour support and kindness.
About a week after the incident, in a conversation with a mutual friend, Mira was overheard to say the following: “I think that I am at the place in my life where I need to look at religion. I see now that religion is how people cope with loss, and I think I need it.”
In a later conversation with Bob, Mira said she felt the most inclined towards Christianity. Her reasoning? Because Christians have shown her so much compassion and support…!
She was, of course, referring to Bob’s special help through the tragedy in her life; but she was also referring to other Christians she had met through the years.
Interestingly, during all of these contacts, Mira doesn’t recall any of these Christians trying to convert her or even convince her that Jesus is the way. She remembers only their compassion, support and kindness.
What a powerful sermon these Christians have preached! And for someone who has decided she didn’t need religion, it was the only sermon she would hear!
There is a place for preaching the gospel, yes. And Bob’s friend Mira is approaching the place where she will be able to hear it. What brought her to this place, however, had nothing to do with preaching the gospel, and everything to do with a bunch of random Christians who didn’t even know each other, all being God’s hands and feet.
Do you want to bring your unsaved friends and family to God? Don’t preach to them. Don’t rub their noses into how their own beliefs will never save them. Instead, show them Jesus. Remember: You may very well be the only “sermon” they will ever truly hear, the only picture of Jesus they will ever truly see!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.