Focal Passage: John 4:31-38
Legendary teacher of homiletics Fred Craddock tells a great story that I think of every time I hear the word evangelism.
Craddock says that one day he was in a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream store. The franchise was in those days in an ad campaign celebrating its 32 flavors. Craddock was sampling one or two of the flavors when a young man walked up to him and asked if he’d “tried Jesus.” Dr. Craddock said he couldn’t help himself. He looked at the young man and said no, and asked if he could put that flavor on his spoon please.
Fred Craddock wasn’t belittling the young man’s efforts as much as he was laughing at himself. Craddock adds that he never thinks we should “accost people with Jesus” but that “our responsibility to tell the story is great.”
As great as the responsibility to tell the “good news,” and as good as the news in fact is, why does it make us so uncomfortable?
Not all of us, admittedly, but a great number of us are appalled to think we might have to go face to face with someone over what we believe and/or what they should.
Some of it is the whole “talking in front of others” thing, which those who research this kind of thing tell us is the number one fear of most people. But this isn’t public speaking, it is evangelism. And it is our duty by command straight from the mouth of Jesus.
For clarity then, we have a command to do something that we (many of us anyway) aren’t comfortable doing. In the focal passage, Jesus says that we must simply get busy. Jesus says evangelism is a part of Christian discipleship, and that each of us is part of the greater work of the kingdom. He speaks of white fields and much labor. He calls us to action, he calls us to evangelism.
How do we define that, what does it look like in 2009, and how do we get started? Well those weren’t the questions asked here.
They need to be answered, but not having them answered the way we want isn’t an excuse not to do what God calls us to do. The bottom line is we just have to get busy.
What would Jesus say about evangelism? He’d say just do it!