Coronavirus or Sharing the Gospel: Which is More Scary?

Like many Christians who recognize the coronavirus needs and fears all around us, I’ve tried to put my faith into action. Shopping for elderly and immunocompromised people. Donating food, toilet paper, and wipes. Calling people isolated in their homes.

But then God challenged me to notice how white the fields are now.toilet paper

No. Not white with toilet paper. With something infinitely more precious.

White for harvest.

While a true Christian’s faith absolutely results in good works, God impressed upon me that my number-one responsibility during this coronavirus pandemic should be sharing the gospel with unbelievers, many of whom are terrified and indeed ripe for harvest.

In his book The Explicit Gospel, Matt Chandler states it like this,

“If we confuse the gospel with our response to the gospel, we risk drifting into actions that obscure the gospel instead of revealing it. At the end of the day, our hope is not that all the poor on earth will be fed…I’m not saying we shouldn’t feed and rescue the poor; I’m saying that salvation isn’t the same as having a full belly. Making people comfortable on earth before an eternity in hell is tragic.”

Blunt words, I know. However, I realized that my coronavirus response to the gospel—shopping, donating food, phone calls—isn’t the same as telling people the good news of Jesus. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

In other words, I need to do both—share the gospel as well as share disinfecting wipes.

But sharing the gospel is kind of scary. What if I offend someone or make them mad? I’m also super uncomfortable telling people that we are all sinners and should repent, and at times I’m tempted to skip that part. Or another biggie—what if they ask me a question, and I don’t know the answer? A friend once shared the gospel with someone who then asked, “Yeah, well, if God is so loving, why did he command the Israelites to kill their enemy’s little children?” What if that happens to me?

However, I surely don’t want to stand before God some day and tell him I was more afraid of sharing the gospel than I was of the coronavirus.

Matt Chandler writes,

“We will never be able to make Christianity so cool that everybody wants it. Yet this is precisely what we are tempted to do: cut off large swaths of the gospel to make it more palatable to the lost…Acts 2 highlights the fact that we simply have to tell people the truth of the gospel. There is freedom for us in this. We don’t have to explain the gospel perfectly, defend creationism, or argue the falsity of atheism. It’s great to have those abilities, but in the end it is God who opens hearts and minds. Our responsibility is to tell people. It’s as simple as that. That’s the power of the gospel.”

I read Acts 2. Peter pretty much preached a no-holds-barred gospel. And three thousand people came to faith.

So here’s my challenge to myself.

Stop dawdling, trust God, and preach on, sister!

Today’s social-distancing requirements make proclaiming the good news a little tougher, but I can be creative. Use social media. Write a blog. 🙂 Phone or use Zoom and talk about Jesus.

Moreover, I can prepare to share. Read and study his word every day, so it’s fresh in my mind. Pray for our big God to open doors and hearts. Ask him for wisdom and discernment to understand his timing and know the words to say.praying hands over Bible

Draw near to him.

After all, we don’t need to practice social distancing from God.

Have some ideas about how we can share the gospel in our social-distancing world? Write a comment and let me know!

God bless and stay safe,

 

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The Hundred-Dollar Angel

IMG_4116I don’t know his name; he declined to tell me when I asked. But last Tuesday, this special man helped me remember the true meaning of Christmas.

As you all know, I’m a part-time crossing guard. Every school-day morning and afternoon, I make sure that walking middle- and elementary-school students get safely across busy intersections. When one of  the kids or a passerby thanks me for doing what I do, I’m always humbled and grateful.

This man, however, thanked me in a way I’ll never forget.

While I was standing on the sidewalk, he pulled his car to the side of the road and rolled down the window. I thought he needed directions (Yes, in this age of GPS, people still ask me for directions.), so I peered at him through the passenger-side window and said hello.

He stuffed something into my hand and said, “For standing outside in the weather every day.”

I looked down and saw a tightly-folded bill—I  suspect he’d hoped to be gone before I had a chance to unfold it and see the denomination. But the fold loosened in my grip, revealing a “100” in the corner. My eyes widened and I leaned through the window. “I can’t take this; it’s too much!”

But with an embarrassed smile, he insisted.

I stared at him. “Who are you?”

I think the directness of my question caught him off guard, because he mumbled something about that not being important, waved good-bye, and sped away.

Back on the sidewalk, I wiped away tears. As I stood there, reflecting upon what this kind man had given me, I realized that although he’d handed me one gift—albeit a big one—he’d blessed me with so many more. He’d noticed little old me crossing kids every day and had sacrificed his time and treasure to make me feel appreciated. And amidst the frenzy of Christmas preparations, he reminded me to encourage the people who touch my own life—whether I’m acquainted with them or not.

My hundred-dollar angel inspired me to follow his example and let people know that I see them and care about them. Like our big God showed us, through Jesus.

 After all, isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

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To you, my dear readers, may the wonder of our Savior’s birth fill your hearts with joy.

Merry Christmas!

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