Evangelism. Does anyone else feel like you never quite measure up when it comes to sharing the gospel? I’m convinced of the importance of evangelism and I’m deeply moved by stories of people coming to Christ – and yet I still struggle to share the gospel regularly. What would it take to make evangelism a natural and regular part of our Christian lives?
Jesus often describes our mission with the metaphor of a harvest. In Matthew and Luke he says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:37-38; Luke 10:2). In similar words, Jesus tells his disciples in John 4:35: “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” Here’s what I want you to notice: if Jesus is sending the disciples and us into the harvest, then someone has already prepared the field. Implication? You and I are surrounded by people already ripe for the gospel. In our grocery stores, on our sports teams, besides us at our coffee shops, or next-door in our neighborhoods, there are people God is preparing to respond to the gospel. Do you believe that?
I’m convinced that one thing that keeps us from sharing the gospel is the unspoken belief that it all depends on us. I need to find someone to share the gospel with. I need to have the right words to say. It’s as though we think God gives us a barren piece of ground and says, “Grow me a crop of wheat.” But God is already at work to prepare the harvest! We follow in his footsteps. The restaurant you choose, the gym you join, or the Starbucks you frequent are not random choices or events in your life. Each one is God preparing and positioning you in his field for his harvest. Our call is to do what Jesus said: “Look, lift up your eyes and see.”
Let me suggest just one way we can live in the Lord’s fields. If it’s true that God is at work to prepare the harvest, that the fields are ripe because of his work, and if it’s true that God has made each one of us workers in his field, then be alert for small windows of opportunity. Only once in my life has an unbelieving stranger asked me a direct question about God. Every other opportunity I’ve had to share the gospel and build friendships with unbelievers came through what seemed like a small thing: giving a pedestrian a ride up a steep hill, asking the checkout lady how her day is going, saying hello to a person instead of passing without acknowledgement. Look for those small opportunities that the Lord gives you, and expect some of them to lead to more conversations.
Wherever you are, the Lord of the harvest is already preparing his field and has you there for a purpose. Lift up your eyes and see! The harvest is ripe.