Well, the learnin' continues in my classes this week... We were charged to respond to the following prompt, regarding our ability to listen, love and represent Christ via servant evangelism... Really got me to thinking and digging deeply into my heart!
In McRaney, page 128 he states "The questions and issues for lost people have changed. I am not sure that we are listening to the questions any longer. Is it possible that in our efforts to communicate we are simply shouting our answers at a higher pitch?" He further states on page 131, "Could it also be true that if we do not love one another, people will struggle to know that we are His disciples? And even worse, whether Jesus is the one real God?" Based on the Servant Evangelism approach, how do you respond to these statements? Do you agree or disagree?
I completely and wholeheartedly agree with both of McRaney’s statements. Due to the changing of times, culture and introduction of social media, lost people are definitely asking different questions. The effectiveness of our ability to share the gospel with them goes back to the lessons from John 4 about listening and truly caring about the women at the well. If we don’t listen to what they are saying or care about their hearts or desires, we are living like the disciples instead of like Jesus.
I believe it is a negative feedback cycle—the less we listen, the less we look like Jesus. The less we look like or follow the example of Jesus the more hypocritical we become. The more hypocritical we become, the less likely we will be able to genuinely reach the lost, they are pushed farther away and begin (or continue) to doubt the existence of Jesus Christ. And well, if we cannot reach the lost… then the Enemy has won. We are tools of the Holy Spirit, and we must practice servanthood evangelism in everything we do in order to allow a full work to be done via the gospel in others.
It really comes down to “ Practicing what we preach” as opposed to “Do as I say, not as I do.” Just as Dr. Wheeler said in the video: “We get mad at lost people acting like they are lost.” When we do that, we are not practicing servanthood evangelism or fulfilling the legacy of Christ. We have to understand that we too were once “eggs in the microwave.” We had to be cooked from the inside out until POW the Holy Spirit transformed us. Now, in our transformed (and continually transforming) state, we can help other “eggs” to be cooked from the inside out by truly loving on them, not judging, and essentially humbling ourselves to wash our feet. We can evangelize through love in our relationships.
Just as it says in Earley and Wheeler, people desire to be loved. If we are able to fulfill THAT need in the name of Christ by servanthood evangelism by simple acts of kindness, we might be opening a door and allowing the Holy Spirit to begin to cook them from the inside out.
I truly appreciated Dr. Wheeler’s additional comments in the videos this week. "Kindness is a language that mute can hear and the deaf can understand." What a powerful statement! And so true! By living a life of servanthood evangelism through love and kindness from opening the door for someone, to handing out balloons in a grocery store parking lot to sincerely listening to the concerns of a lost person’s heart, we are living out the message of who Jesus truly was.
It is important to remember "You cannot divorce the message from the man." Never did Jesus preach one thing and practice another. We are representatives of Christ. In order to reach the lost, we must do so empathetically with love and kindness, living it in our daily lives. After all, the towel is our greatest tool. We can wash others feet—but we have to carry that towel with us at all times, not leave it at the bottom of the laundry hamper at home or shoved in a drawer. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, all we need is love... and a towel.
So what do you think? Do you have your towel and basin ready? It is a humbling business-- but more rewarding than our hearts and minds can comprehend!
One foot at a time,
"When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." John 13:12-17