Growing up, a lot of emphasis was placed on our duty to tell others of the gospel. There would be set times that people would meet together and head out in groups with the intended purposes of knocking on doors and telling others about the gospel. This is an odd way to present need for evangelism. To me, it was taught as something I should do. Yes, I should want to do it, but the primary emphasis was placed upon how I OUGHT to do it. If it wasn’t done, I was to feel guilt at my utter failure in not fulfilling my duty.
As I have grown in grace (and by no means am I hinting that I have “arrived”) I’ve come to see that the motivation originally pressed on me for “sharing” the gospel wasn’t right. Oh, sure, it guilted lots of people into handing out a gospel tract or knock doors; but guilt isn’t the proper motivation for sharing the gospel. This kind of guilted sharing is like a kid who doesn’t want anyone else to play with his toys, but begrudgingly shares because his parents gave him the scowling look of displeasure. But we’re talking about the GOSPEL here… The Good News for crying out loud! Should we really have to guilt people into proclaiming the good news to others? If so, then I would venture to say those on whom the guilt is being laid, fundamentally misunderstand the gospel.
So how should it look? Let me illustrate in parabolic form:
It’s a party, a birthday party to be exact. All of Josh’s friends and family are there. They’ve played games, and dropped the gifts off at the gift table to be opened later. The cake and ice cream was out, and Bob, Josh’s 35 year old uncle on his mom’s side, moseyed over that way and grabbed himself a plate. He tasted the dessert and it was as if he’d never tasted anything sweet in his life. As he ate he was telling everyone in earshot how amazing this stuff was. Bob looked like he was a kid on their first birthday, cake was everywhere! Some saw him devouring the cake and ice cream and they came over to try some for themselves. After Bob had eaten a couple of pieces he began to pass the stuff out. Some people thought he was a little off, but Bob didn’t seem to care. He was so enthralled with how delicious the cake and ice cream was, he enjoyed it so much, that he just naturally began to share it with others. It was spontaneous.
Are you reveling in the love of God in Jesus so that you just spontaneously share it with others? Do they see you live in the gospel and want to experience it too? Or do you, like a good little worker, go on a scheduled block of time so that you can check that off of your “to-do” list, or rid yourself of any resulting guilt you may experience due to your not “sharing” the gospel throughout the rest of the week?