"That means there is only one potential breakdown in this progression- when servants of God do not preach the gospel to all peoples. We are the plan of God, and there is no plan B." - Radical p. 156
"The will of God is for you and me to give our lives urgently and recklessly to making the gospel and the glory of God known among all peoples, particularly those who have never even heard of Jesus." p. 160Much of what Platt writes about in Radical, I've been mulling over in starts and fits the last few years. I had not fleshed out all of the ideas but seeds were planted. Reading each chapter, then, has been the kick in the pants I needed to actually do something about it.
Then chapter 7 happened, like a glass of ice water in my face. I had never viewed myself as God's only plan to reach people. I know that sharing faith is a part of having faith in the first place. I've seen it done so horribly during my lifetime that I am wary of how I come across. I don't want my words or actions to turn people off to God.
For example, I don't agree with people who had out gospel tracts. There. I said it. I think of it as an evangelize-and-ditch plan. I believe that discipleship is just as important when it comes to sharing the gospel. It's not enough to just tell someone about Christ. We need to model what living the Christian life looks like. Help them figure out what church to go, the type of Bible that will work best for them.
Yes, I know God can use anything and anyone. And if someone is open to faith, a tract might do it, as would a conversation on a plane or in the aisles of Target.
But I also know me. I know godly people that lay out the gospel in 5 minutes flat with complete strangers. That is their gifting. It's not mine. I'm relationship-driven. I share my faith within the context of that relationship. I'm not saying I could never share the gospel with a stranger- just that it doesn't typically happen that way.
Last weekend I told my brother about the places I'm considering volunteering at. He asked me about my motivation. Did I plan to evangelize? Well, no, not in those terms. I told him, "If people know me, they know I'm a Christian. It's part of my life so by getting to know me, they will learn about faith."
Then I had to stop. Do people really know that I'm a Christian? Does my faith come out in the majority of my conversations?
I've become used to the social worker mentality of not openly sharing my beliefs. While some might find the Code of Ethics restrictive, it actually protects both the client and the social worker. What if the tables were turned and someone not of my faith background was trying to convert me? It might be OK to mention that I go to church or reference something faith-based (i.e. mission trip, community group) but I won't expound on either thing unless I'm asked. I try to be sensitive to where other people are coming from. I was able to share my faith with a few different patients during my 5 years in hospice but it was as a result of building relationship and being completely focused on their needs. If they asked what I believed, I shared but not until then. This is good social work practice. I don't regret being true to my profession because when God gave me opportunities to share, I took them.
Still, that's work. What about my day-to-day life? How many of my new friends know what I believe? Or even my friends and family back home, for that matter.
Do I feel a sense of urgency about sharing the gospel? The truthful answer is no. I act as if I have all the time in the world. Chapter 7 reminded me that I don't.
If that doesn't embolden me, I don't know what will. I'm choosing to be intentional. I'm going to ask people what they believe if I'm not sure. I'm going to take more chances.
Keep me accountable. All I have to do is proclaim. God will do the rest. Now it's go time.
This post is part of the Radical Read-Along hosted by the fantastic Marla Taviano.
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