If your journey has only helped you have an abundant life, your journey isn’t complete. God never intended for the gift of an abundant life to be kept secret. God has given you the responsibility of spreading this good news, to everyone. Some people call this concept of sharing the good news of an abundant life with everyone, evangelism. Which it is, but unfortunately, evangelism has gotten a bad reputation over the course of time. So much so that followers of Jesus shrink in fear when the word is even spoken.
Many a follower of Jesus has rationalized that they are “unqualified” to evangelize. They feel unworthy and lean into the misconception that one can only share the good news of an abundant life, once one has all the answers. Since this in an unattainable goal, there are followers of Jesus who never share their abundant life with anyone. Consequently, there are people out there, living every day lives, with every day followers of Jesus, and they are lost. They desire to know a better way, but they don’t know who to ask for help. They don’t see who is right in front of them, because the one who is right in front of them has convinced themselves that they are not qualified to evangelize.
One of the reasons for this reality is the concept of winning and losing. Like all of life is some sort of competition, including Christianity. How many times have you heard that evangelism is “Winning people to Christ”? With this perspective, quotas become a central part of sharing the good news of the abundant life that you enjoy. When quotas get involved, evangelism moves from personal relationships to mathematical equations. If I approach twenty people I will be successful 30% of the time. Life becomes not about being, living as a follower of Jesus, in relationship with others. But about doing, how many people have I won for the Lord? This is an understandable human perspective of evangelism, but it isn’t Jesus’ example.
“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Legend has it that Theodore Roosevelt coined this phrase, but its roots are to be found in the life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus is our example for evangelism. Others have come, since Jesus, and have developed evangelistic practices and programs that have been very helpful. But evangelism has always been and will always be about relationships. Why? Because nobody will care how much you know, until they know how much you care! The relationship comes first.
Jesus lived thirty-three years, before he died for our sins on the cross. Why? Because he knew that nobody would care how much he knew, until they knew how much he cared. He didn’t need to wait thirty-three years. We needed him to wait thirty-three years. We needed the time to get to know him, to walk with him, to learn about him, to see him in action and to listen to what he had to say. Can you imagine how many times, during Jesus’ life, he wondered how much longer he would have to suffer with us? Yet, suffer he did. Not for his own sake, but for our sake. And there it is. He took the time, put in the effort, suffered through all of our stuff, so that he could walk with us into salvation. Jesus was a living, breathing, walking, talking abundant life, shared with everyone. And that is what you and I are called to be in our lives. This isn’t something that we do. This is not just another evangelistic program. This is being who God has created you to be. A child of God, living an abundant life for all to see.