That’s what we are called to do.
To spread God’s Word we must reach out.
The Gospel of Matthew ends with Jesus giving the Great Commission to the eleven disciples [Mat 28:16-20]. Jesus tells them to go out and make disciples of all nations. Jesus was telling them that all people are invited to eternal salvation if they become disciples. His words, “…of all nations,” includes you and me. But Jesus wasn’t just directing the eleven disciples, He was also directing all of us to go out and make disciples of others.
I have to admit I’m not very good at bringing the Word of God to others. I can’t seem to memorize any scripture so I’m not ready to answer questions with specific verse. I’m introverted so talking with strangers is very challenging for me. I worry about offending others or sounding “preach-y.” And though I’ve read the Bible and continue to do so I somehow feel unprepared to answer many questions. So, I don’t reach out very often.
I admire those who can and do reach out. I call them “day missionaries.” I watch and listen to them and think to myself, “Why can’t I do that?” Well, it’s not my gift I guess. So, what to do?
I try to reach out by example. I try hard to be tolerant and accepting of others. I won’t lie, it’s hard in this environment to always be accepting as the personalities in prison are pretty extreme. I try to be helpful too. Right now I’m tutoring a man in math as he studies for his GED. I try to be giving and sharing of my possessions but that is hard as well because people will take advantage if they can – but Jesus said to give so I do.
I sometimes find the road to Christianity to be hard to follow. I’m very judgmental and often have ill thoughts of others. For example, last night two drug addicts got high at 3:30 in the morning in the men’s room. One started screaming at the top of his lungs and woke the whole unit. Many laugh at this, but it makes me mad and sad. When I saw the individual at breakfast all I could think was what a jerk he was – when I should have been thinking how sad it is he can’t, or won’t, overcome his addiction. I should feel pity but instead I feel anger and resentment. Christ’s walk is not an easy one.
When asked if I’m a Christian I’m proud to say yes. I often hear stories of people calling themselves Christian but acting very differently. There are stories like this for every faith and religion. The key is not to be one of those stories. So, I’ll try to walk in Jesus’ footsteps but knowing as I do that I’m totally human and will fail often. Yet maybe in my failings I’ll find new understandings of what it is to be Christian and find new ways to reach out and bring God’s Word to others more directly.
How about you? Do you have a method for reaching out? Do you know verse and can quote it to answer questions? Are you prepared to answer challenging questions? Or perhaps you’re like me just trying to emulate Christ by example and follow in His footsteps. There must be a place for us all to fit in as disciples. What’s your method?