Evangelism? Fat Chance!
Some things just don't make any sense. For example, "Why do we drive on a parkway and then park in the driveway?" Or how about "Why is the third hand on the watch called the second hand?" There are all kinds of similar mysteries that we have probably never really thought much about. For example...
- Why does "fat chance" and "slim chance" mean the same thing?
- When you go to a ball game, why do you sit in "the stands?"
- Why call it "after dark" when it really is "after light?"
- Doesn't "expecting the unexpected" make the unexpected expected?
- Why do "overlook" and "oversee" mean opposite things?
- Why is "phonics" not spelled the way it sounds?
- Why do we put suits in "garment bags" and garments in a "suitcase?"
- If “gospel” is "good news," why is it "bad news" when its time to share it?
Let's face it, evangelism has never been a favorite thing for most of us. We all recognize its importance, but most of us never have really warmed up to the task.
Maybe that's because we misunderstand the process. If we see evangelism as only (or primarily) knocking on strange doors, carrying projectors into stranger's homes or picking theological nits as we try to convince people that they are wrong and we are right, then our reticence to evangelize is understandable. But maybe Jesus gives us another model in Mark 5.
He has just healed a man filled with so many demons that he took the name "Legion." He was such an outcast that he lived among the tombs. He was so violent that he was chained; he was so powerful that he tore the chains apart. His life was miserable until he met Jesus. Jesus exorcised his demons and gave him back his life. In return, this man wanted to follow Jesus as a disciple. Instead, Jesus made him an evangelist. Jesus said, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what wonderful things the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been” (5:19, NLT). He was to do evangelism; he was to tell good news. That meant sharing with others all that God had done in his life.
All of us are not able to effectively go into people's homes and conduct formal classes any more than everyone can preach, teach classes or juggle! But we can all tell others in our own way our own story of the difference that God has made in our lives. Whatever else it may be, evangelism means that we live different lives and then share with others the difference that God has made in our lives.