Faith Sharing: 3 Excuses and 3 Solutions
Jesus’s command for us to make disciples is direct and clear (Matthew 28:18-20). Making disciples involves going, baptizing and teaching. But very few Christians are actually obeying this simple command. I think I might know why.
If I stepped into a time machine and was transported as a medic into the middle of the Vietnam War, wounded soldiers would be in trouble. I’d try to help them, I’d try to stop the bleeding and I’d try to wrap broken arms, but I’m not trained to do that. I’d feel completely overwhelmed.
That’s how a lot of us feel about sharing our faith. We see a forest full of dying people, but we don’t know how to help.
Others feel more like someone walking through the forest, but they don’t see anyone needing helped. It’s just a nice walk. They feel they should be helping someone at some point, but the forest is empty of wounded people.
Others feel they aren’t good enough. They imagine if they bent down over a guy with a bleeding leg, the guy would accuse, “I’ve seen your leg bleed, why should I let you help?” This group assumes they’ve been disqualified from helping the wounded.
In 4 brief verses in Mark 4, Jesus gives us solutions for all three excuses.
Then Jesus said, “God’s kingdom is like seed thrown on a field by a man who then goes to bed and forgets about it. The seed sprouts and grows—he has no idea how it happens. The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain. When the grain is fully formed, he reaps—harvest time!” (Mark 4:26-29 MSG)
Excuse: I don’t know anybody who really needs to hear.
Solution: Find a field.
The farmer doesn’t plant the seeds with pinpoint precision. He scatters them all over the field. We ought be strategic enough to scatter Gospel seeds on fields, but sometimes Christians look more like a farmer hesitating to plant even one seed on a 100-acre plot of land.
In America, according to the latest research from Barna, the percentages for how many people believe the core tenants of the Christian faith and actively apply them to their lives is chilling.
age 18-29 – 4%
age 30-40 – 7%
age 50-64 – 15%
age 65 & older – 17%
This tells me there are plenty of fields where Gospel seeds need to be sown. Do you have a field in your family, friends, neighborhood, school or work? If not, could you strategically join a bowling league, reading club or community organization?
One helpful exercise is to use this Prayer Circles Card. Write down the names of those in each category (family, neighbor, work/school, other “far from God”). Underneath their names, write down people in their sphere of influence. Then begin praying for them.
The solution may require some intentionality, but it’s doable for every person. Find a field so you can begin scattering seed.
Excuse: I’m not good enough to do this.
Solution: Take a nap.
You are correct, you aren’t good enough to make a seed grow. You can’t turn something into new life. But God can, so after you’ve tossed the bag of seed on the field, go take a nap. Standing and watching won’t help the seed grow. God makes it grow. It’s in this time of rest that we are reminded of our role and God’s role.
I [Paul] planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service (I Corinthians 3:6-9).
God never holds us accountable for the outcome. We obey and plant, He works in the heart and people are given a choice to receive or reject. God knows your failings. So the big question is this: Will you choose to let your inferiority complex take precedence over Jesus’ command? Will you choose to believe that God’s grace is not sufficient for you? Will you choose to believe He messed up when He asked you to make disciples? Or will you let God Almighty use you, warts and all, in His story?
Excuse: I don’t know how to do this.
Solution: Get a tool; get equipped.
The farmer scatters the seed, takes a rest and then sees what’s growing. Where it grows, he works. He knows how and he has the right tool for the job. Do you?
It doesn’t take a Theology Degree or a decade of perfect Bible Class attendance, but it does take just a little bit of equipping. There are different, good tools to use. We don’t all have to do the same thing, but we have to do something. We have to teach.
This is exactly what the early disciples did: They found fields (village by village, city by city) and scattered the Gospel to anyone willing to listen. They looked for any signs of spiritual life, resting in the peace that they’d been obedient and weren’t responsible for the outcomes. If nobody listened, they moved along. But if people listened, they stayed. When people responded, they baptized and taught the new believers, readying them to lead others to Christ as well. This is how churches were birthed. It still is.
I recently shared a simple way for Christians to share the Gospel with someone else. If you need a tool, if you need equipped, watch this video (sermon date: Oct. 1, 2017; scroll to 23:00 minute mark if you want).
I’m so thrilled that our church is focussed on equipping believers to find fields, scatter seed and work the harvest. We’ll be launching new training opportunities soon.