Evangelism is sometimes mistaken for a form of product promotion, in which we have to wheedle, cajole, frighten, or trick people into sampling God. Our performance as reps is assessed on numbers as all performance is – how many did we sign up to giving our spiritual commodity a go?
Christian faith is more often than not seen as a personal attribute of the believer – “I wish I had your faith,” people say, believing that faith arises from having a particular personality type, or being brought up in a home where spirituality was accepted and understood.
Our passages here would suggest otherwise. John the Baptist was not himself the light; he only bore witness to the light, John’s Gospel says – faith is not an attribute of myself; it points beyond to a living Lord. “You are witnesses of these things,” Jesus says – we are to report on what we have experienced first-hand for ourselves. And this is not to be pushed on people: always be ready to give an account of the hope that is in you, Peter says – but with gentleness and respect. And that’s all. We don’t need to knock on people’s doors and harass them in their homes, or stop them in the street; what they see in us should be enough to make them be the ones to ask the questions.
Living Lord, we give you thanks for the hope and peace you have brought to our lives. Thank you for the times you have been our strength when trouble came to us. Thank you for the release and joy you have brought us in setting us free from sin. Here and now I invite you again: come into my heart, Lord Jesus; make your home with me. Cleanse and forgive anything I have done wrong. Heal the wounds that have been left by the hurly-burly of living. Make yourself real to me. Be the king of my life, of my heart. Stay with me, Lord Jesus, and never take your Holy Spirit from me. This prayer we ask in Jesus’ holy name, for his glory; Amen.