Summary: Encouraging Christians to share the gift of Jesus year round.
"So when they met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1.6-8, NIV). [S]
The word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
We’re in the second week of a short series titled “Share the Gift”. A series designed to help disciples be more confidant when it comes to engaging someone with God.
In our theme verse for the series Jesus said to his disciples, “you will be my witnesses”. And that implies that all disciples are to share the gift of what Jesus has done for them with another human being.
There’s no doubt in my mind that at some level every disciples of Jesus want to be obedient and share what Jesus has done for them with another.. Unfortunately, there are hurdles, high hurdles that intimidate us and in some cases keep us from trying to share what Jesus has done all together. It’s my hope that somehow this mini-series will help to lower those hurdles so they’re more manageable and we’re more likely to run over them, or in some cases, even through them.
Last week we identified the first hurdle. And that was the belief that people aren’t interested in our gift. But through using scripture and contemporary statistics and experiences we learned and affirmed that people will give us the opportunity to share our gift, especially, during the Christmas window which is November 30-December 30.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the next hurdle or two. And this is a dozy. “I’m not an evangelist so I can’t do it.” “I’m not gifted for this. That’s the work for someone else to do. That’s someone else’s responsibility. Someone else is better fitted for that. I’m not an evangelist, so I can’t do it. Listen to the words Paul wrote to his young protégé Timothy in 2 Timothy 4.1-5.
[S] “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4.1-5, NIV) [S]
Paul told Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist.” My first reaction might be, well that’s because he was an evangelist. No, he wasn’t. That was not Timothy’s strong suit. That is not what he was naturally inclined to do. We learn in 1 Timothy 4.13-14 that his primary spiritual gift, that which he found the most joy and ease at using, was the gift of teaching. And we see the evidence of that in this passage where Paul charges him to preach, and to instruct because men will not put up with sound doctrine and will turn from truth to myths. Timothy is a preacher/teacher.
I can see Timothy looking at Paul saying, “But, my gift is teaching.” “I’m more comfortable teaching believers about the faith.” I’m not like you. I could never do what you do. I can’t confront people like you do. I’m not good at debating. I can’t reason like you do. I could never be like you are. It’s as if Paul said, “So.” “You’re not like me. You’re right. We’re not gifted the same. Our personalities are different. Regardless of your spiritual gift mix and temperament Tim, you are still to do the work of an evangelist. And so are we.
We find that a little unnerving don’t we? Why? I think it’s because we have a limited view of what it means to do the work of an evangelist. When you think of doing the work of an evangelist who or what comes to mind? Billy Graham, Franklyn Graham, Billy Sunday, the Apostle Paul, the guy in rainbow colored hair carrying a megaphone saying, “Turn or burn!” If those were our only options available to us then I would be hesitant about sharing the gift as well. But those aren’t the only options. There is no one “evangelist” model. When it comes to sharing the gift, one size doesn’t fit all.