The Loma Prieta earthquake shook the Bay Area in 1989 and my parents celebrated birthdays in their 7th decade of life. Unexpectedly, my need to share the gospel became a major part of my spiritual life..
When 1997 rolled around and a 12 year banking position disappeared in a lay-off, the desire for full time involvement in evangelism suddenly began to grow.
One year later while attending an evangelism seminar, the keynote speaker said that at best, 5 churches in the country identified the evangelists in their midst, provided them with the necessary training to fulfill their calling and commissioned them to use their gift for God and the church. I hoped to make the church I attended the 6th.
In each of these events and many others, one thing has been crystal clear to me; the great desire that existed, found me. It was a gift from the One who first rescued me and later began working through me. Here are a few other ‘gifts’ He’s given me.
- A deepening love for people who dislike God. This is critical to the mission of Share the Savior and the evangelism efforts of Christians. Without love, the best evangelism efforts are like the sound of alley cats fighting for garbage can rights.
- A growing trust in God’s ability to save anyone. There is no one outside the reach of an all powerful God. If he could save someone like Saul, who could be beyond his grasp.
- A rising appreciation for how great a privilege it is to share the gospel. God did not need me (or anyone for that matter) to communicate the message of the cross. He chose that method to accomplish His task.
- A picture of churches where evangelism has reached new heights. In these churches, every member is adequately prepared and actively engaged in sharing their faith. The church is creatively partnering with them and together, they are meeting the spiritually lost and helping them move toward salvation in Christ.
- A longing to do the job of the evangelist. As Paul commissioned young Timothy to carry out the responsibilities of the gift he did not possess, my heart tells me to do the same: reach those without Jesus and teach those with Him to share.
It is reasonable to assume that everyone could advance the gospel of Christ more than they have in the past. However, there is no earthly way for me to know which direction God wants you to take toward that greater evangelistic effort. Share the Savior may play a roll in the lives of less than 1 in a 1,000 who read these pages.
That’s ok with me because whether God uses this ministry or a billion individuals to accomplish His work, in reality He has done it all. There is no glory or credit due us, just the privilege of being allowed to participate in the same plan with him and for him.