Monday, February 14, 2005do you have one???
Compassion for those who are without Christ didn't come easy to me. My attitude, like way too many Christians today, was to be a witness to the people in my immediate surroundings, as in family, friends and neighbours, and that's it! I would wait for opportune times to mention something about the Faith, knowing that, at worst they would respectfully reject what I proposed, at best they would receive my testimony. Then I joined a church that had a MAJOR emphasis on missionary work.
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Matthew 28:19)
These verses, known as the "Great Commision", were posted everywhere in the church, and they had an impact on me. I realized that the Great Commission was an unqualified statement directed at all believers...and that included me. I also realized that just bringing the Gospel to the people around me was not the Great Commission; it was more like the "little endeavour".
So I started looking for ways to reach my community with the Word of God. I quickly dismissed any kind of direct mass evangelism, because I was WAY TO SCARED! I figured: anyone as petrified of public speaking as I was, just didn't have the "gift" for that kind of thing. I therefore opted to start a "coffee ministry". Two or three times a week, I would prepare a few thermos of coffee, and would bring the hot drink to street people on cold winter nights. I took the opportunity to get to know the poor souls and would attempt to reach them with the Gospel.
It was a good experience, but there was a problem: none of these guys wanted anything to do with the Gospel. So many Christian groups are involved with street people, that I found myself being the 1,003,349 person to try to reach them with the Gospel of Christ. I quickly realized that I most likely wasn't going to see a lot of people come to a saving knowledge of the Truth through my ministry.
That was a big problem for me. All this was going on before I came to an understanding of the Doctrines of Grace, so I actually believed that if I presented the Gospel right, if I reached out with enough "heart", then I would see many come to salvation. Well, I was going out several times a week, pleading the cause of Christ, and...well...nothing.
After a couple of years, I was really getting depressed over the whole situation, so, I gave up. I went back to my original position on evangelism, and there I stayed for about 3 years.
To be continued...