“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (NIV) Matthew 9:35-38
I think few people would argue that Jesus was one of the greatest evangelists. I must admit that this is an area that I struggle with personally although by God’s Grace I believe I am slowly improving. The reasons I struggle might be the same reasons you struggle; I am a passive person and am not quick to assert my beliefs in conversation. I also dislike conflict and because of that I fear that sharing the gospel might upset someone and cause an argument. Although these are valid points, we must still remember that we are all held to the great commission in Matthew 28:19-20: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
As we try to live out this command from Jesus I would like to start with how we can create opportunities to share the gospel with those around us. These ideas are very basic but I believe that over time, if we persevere, we will have many chances to share our faith. The first point is taken from Matthew 9:35 of our scripture reading: “Jesus went through all the towns and villages…” We see here that Christ wasn’t sitting at home hiding from the world and neither should we. Be the person who says hello on the street, visit with people at work or school on lunch break, join a sports team or visit with other parents when you take your kids to sports or other activities. You won’t have a chance to share the gospel if you aren’t talking to anyone!
The second point is from verse 36: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them…” People came to Jesus for many reasons but one of them was because He showed love and compassion to everyone around Him. Matthew 5:16 says “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” If we show genuine care and love towards others, people will automatically find us different and attractive. Over time you can develop friendships with these people and there will be opportunities to tell them why you are different.
Above all, we need to rely on God for these opportunities. We should pray for help to reflect Jesus love into the world and be willing to create chances to talk to people. We also need to pray for wisdom, courage and strength from the Spirit so that when we get an opportunity we can, as Matthew 5:38 says, be one of the workers in His harvest field. May God help us!