If you could choose to possess a single super power, what would it be?
Flying would be pretty cool, right? Invisibility would be seriously useful for those embarrassing moments. Mind-reading could easily save a hurting relationship.
There are hundreds of creative choices, but I think if I had to pick just one, it would be to show the love of Jesus without hesitation. Before I am condemned as "holier-than-thou" for my choice, let me try to explain.
Have you ever felt that slight sense of fear before you sprinkle a little bit of "Jesus" into a conversation? Perhaps your heartbeat speeds up, or you break a sweat thinking about the perfect way to respond. Maybe you have a hard time taking that first step towards your neighbor's door when you know they might need encouragement.
Sometimes, because of that pit-of-the-stomach feeling, I will avoid making eye contact with someone I know when we happen to be at the same public place unplanned. My thoughts go something like this: "If they see me, then I'll have to talk to them. If I have to talk to them, I'll have to say something about my faith, too, or else I will feel guilty for not trying." Etcetera, etcetera.
For some followers of Jesus, evangelism seems to come so much more naturally than this. It's like they have a faith-sharing super power. Can you relate?
My wife and I recently had the opportunity to work with church-plants in the New England area of the U.S. for a week. Statistics show that these several states are the least-Christian in the entire country. As you can imagine, our brothers and sisters who are planting these churches are almost completely surrounded by nonbelievers.
Something I noticed throughout the week was just how ordinary each of the churches' staff members seemed. These brothers and sisters were just like you and me. They each had ups and downs, successes and failures, hopes and fears. They did not have any special super power for sharing the Gospel. All that they had is the same thing you and I have: a deep love for Jesus, and a simple desire to share that love with others in small, practical ways.
We got to participate in community block-parties sponsored by a church in the city. We got to witness one-on-one conversations over dinner between staff-members and nonbelieving friends. We got to serve at a fun back-to-school event providing supplies and services for families in need from 8 separate elementary schools.
There were no top-dollar worship events. There were no miraculous healings or spontaneous conversions. There were no fire-throwing street sermons. Instead, there were just simple acts of friendship, hospitality, and generosity. To say that these small acts were having an eternal impact on these communities would be an understatement!
Ordinary people doing ordinary acts of love for others produces extraordinary change.
The church in Acts. Ch. 2 is a beautiful example of this truth: "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved."
These church members were ordinary, just like you and me. They studied God's Word together. They met each others' needs. They shared meals together. They cried and laughed and worshiped together. What was the result? "And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved."
The next time you feel that sense of fear before showing a simple act of love in Jesus' name, don't hesitate because you don't have super powers. Just take a deep breath, follow-through, and watch the beautiful ways that our Lord will multiply your blessing to others!
-written by Chase Cotten, Media Director @ IDES