Evangelism Sometimes Uses Words

It is my last day in Honduras. I’m sitting on the back porch of Clinica de Esperanza. Around me, people are digging and planting, moving dirt and piling rocks.

I’M THINKING ABOUT THE WORD “EVANGELISM.”

I used to think evangelism was all about talking (the cliché phrase: I’d like to tell you about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ). It brought up images of street preachers and TV preachers and tracts. None of those things excite me. I don’t relate to those methods of sharing the Gospel.

But I do enjoy talking about my faith in authentic, transparent and organic conversations. At the same time, I don’t want to force a conversation on anyone.

Honduras has changed things for me. I no longer equate evangelism with converting people via preaching or a five-step guide to salvation. When you nail the last nail and open the door to a family’s new home, you see Jesus lighting up their faces, and there it is.

YOU’VE TAKEN SOME OF THE HOLY SPIRIT INSIDE YOURSELF AND GIFTED IT TO ANOTHER PERSON.

James 1:27 comes to mind. I love it in pretty much every translation of the Bible, but it especially hits home in the Message:

Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

I carried the Spirit of Christ in my tool belt during the month of July (el mes de julio). I lifted the Spirit into children as I held them and loved them and read books with them. I prayed in Spanglish by the bed of a child in a hospital, hands on a mother’s shoulders, Jesus all around us.

Mahatma Ghandi said, “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”

I’ve thought about that a lot while serving in Honduras. In Tegucigalpa and the surrounding communities, the name of JesuChristo is well-known. There are churches everywhere. People know about God, about the right and wrong of things. They know who Jesus is. What they don’t know is…

JESUS LOVES THEM SO MUCH HE GAVE MORE THAN HIS SON.

He gave His hands and His feet also.

Us.

He gave us.

And every time we feed, clothe, or shelter a person, we give them Jesus. We pour Him out of us and into the hungry and the naked, the homeless and the loveless.

EVANGELISM SOMETIMES USES WORDS.

Evangelism sometimes uses hammers and nails, donated shoes, cotton candy and popcorn machines, cinder blocks and concrete, games of tag, airport terminals, and long conversations in government offices.

Sometimes it uses those things.

Always, always, always…

It uses us.

 

*originally published on Middle Places

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