Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Motivated by Love

Photo by Pam Williams

What comes to mind when you hear the word “evangelism”? Pushy people accosting you on the street? Guilt for not saying enough about Jesus? People swarming down the aisles at a huge rally? Or, loving friends sharing spiritual good news?

For the Apostle Paul, evangelism was exciting and invigorating. He loved passing along the Good News. Paul could have made lots of excuses for not preaching or sharing his faith. He had been mistreated, insulted, and opposed in numerous places. In Acts 16 it says Paul had been beaten, whipped and imprisoned.

Most of us have not dealt with physical resistance. However, we face other forms of resistance. I remember trying to talk with a family member who responded by arguing with me. Another demanded explanations for seeming inconsistencies in the Bible, while another simply waved my words away and walked off.

What enabled Paul to continue evangelizing despite opposition? I think it was his motivation—Paul loved the people he shared with. Paul compares himself to both a mother and a father caring for their children. How did he demonstrate that? He fed them spiritually by preaching; he was excited about their spiritual growth; he willingly shared his life with them; he lived an exemplary life before them; he encouraged them; he comforted them; and he urged them to walk with God.

Over the years God has brought many spiritual mothers and fathers into my life. Lucy Armel invited me into her home and encouraged me as a new mother to lean on God and the church. Bill and Peggy Williams accepted me just as I was and lived out their faith even in how they cooked a meal or carried on a conversation. Most of all, it has been Christians pouring out their selfless love on me—through cards, conversations, companionship—that has encouraged and comforted and called me to live for Jesus.

The key to evangelism is motive—we must love the person with whom we are sharing our faith. Whether our efforts are embraced or rejected, we will continue to share because we truly care.

©2015 Pamela D. Williams