November 25, 2008

what does EVANGELISM mean to me?

“What does evangelism mean to me?” This question oft stumps me in my shoes. At church I hear a commanding message, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel…” All that I take back from that message is ‘PREACH’. But, “WHAT DOES EVANGELISM MEAN TO ME?”

Rushing through my earthly morning rituals, I take my journey to college. As I approach the bus stop, out of the blue, a bus whizzes pass me. I run hard to catch it. But alas! The bus doesn’t halt. Disappointed, I hurl my feelings of anger at the bus conductor. “7:45 slow local to Churchgate has arrived on platform 2…“ On hearing the announcement, I run a 100 meter dash to the platform. I somehow make my way through the huddle of people and get into the train. “Who cares if they get hurt, as long as I’m safe in the train!” I struggle to breathe a sigh of relief when I hear some unmelodious instruments and people chanting “Om…Om.” To add well to my agony, a few poor kids walk up to me begging for money. In my rather suppressed fury I plead them to get lost.

En route, I pass by a temple. Looking at those people, I pity their wretchedness and console myself, “Thank God, I’m not one of them.” In spite of all the running, by the time I reach college, I’m 15 minutes late, welcoming the angry cries of my teacher. Thankfully, there are those cheery friends who without fail make up the day for me. Soon, the college gets over and I follow my routine promenade back home. On my way, I snack at the sev puri wala, quarrel with the auto rickshaw driver for the 1Re. change, bemoan the lousy cries of the beggar on the overhead bridge, and articulate my hundred complaints against the people in the bus and train.

Now at the end of the day, I still ask myself, “What does evangelism mean to me?” I never got an opportunity to witness today, my day was really bad. How can I witness in such adverse circumstances? At that moment, God in his grace answered,
“My son, it’s very nice to know that you’re actually concerned about evangelism. I do see the zeal in you to evangelize. But somehow things are just not working out for you. Unable to capitalize on opportunities, you stand puzzled on where to start and how to start. And today, well, you had the bus conductor, the beggars, some annoying people on board the train with you, and many others who somehow robbed you of those opportunities. But what if evangelism began with these people? You could have been polite with the bus conductor against whom you spoke roughly, and been gentle with the people at the station whom you pushed and hurt to get inside the train. You could have been more considerate to those orphans who begged you for some money. What if your teacher, your classmates, the rickshaw driver, the sev puri wala, the beggar, and the many people you met today, be people with whom you would one day share the gospel? If they ever are going to believe in the gospel, they got to see it in you first! Evangelism begins with a daily impersonation of the gospel of Christ. Evangelism must necessarily begin in the Jerusalem you live in. These people are a part of you furthermore they make or break your day. If you don’t care for them, what really does evangelism mean to you?”

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