All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him. 2 Samuel 14:14
Joab had come up with an imaginative way to have David reconcile with his estranged son Absalom. The wise woman of Tekoa presented a story that caused David to look at his situation in a new light and to finally relent from his decision to never see his son again. Isn’t this exactly what effective evangelism does? Our whole goal is to see reconciliation between the sons and daughters and their Heavenly Father. Everything Jesus did was to cause people to see their relationship with God in a different light and then to provide a way back home through His sacrifice on the cross. He used stories, just as the woman of Tekoa, to describe the Kingdom of God and to help those who felt they would always be on the outside looking in to know there was a way to God through Jesus. From the very first sin the Garden God was devising a way to bring us back to Himself, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel (Genesis 3:15).” This plan took time, this plan took sacrifice, this plan took the enemy by surprise. The Creator was creative in his plans to redeem creation through the Cross of Christ. In fact the Hebrew word used here for “devises ways to bring us back” is “to think, plan, esteem, calculate, invent, imagine, value, esteem, purpose, regard. There’s no half way, half hearted effort here. Effective Evangelism is Inventive Evangelism.
I just returned from Japan where I witnessed the creativity in which our God is reaching a nation where less then one percent are Christians. I had the great privilege in participating in a water baptism in Lake Seiko at the base of Mount Fuji. Though the water was glacier cold, because it was basically melted snow, the fire of the four young college women who had recently been saved warmed everyone who was watching. One girl who had been depressed and considered suicide visited a family in Hawaii who took here to New Hope where she was saved. She came back to Japan and led a number of her friends to Christ including the girls getting baptized right next to her. When that girl shared her testimony she shared how she had often considered throwing herself in front of the train while on her way to school. Now that she has met Christ she has a reason for living. Another one of the testimonies was from a young woman who participated in the Home Share Studies. She spent some time in the U.S. a homestay program whose primary purpose was love on and lead Japanese students to Jesus while they stayed in their home. Her life was changed after meeting Jesus. As if that wasn’t proof enough of the inventive and imaginative ways our God is reaching Japan I cam across another story that blew my mind. Yuki Hayashi had been far from the Lord and her husband Tadashi was not a Christian. They came to Oahu and during a communion service Tadashi came to Christ and Yuki came back to Christ during a salvation invitation I gave during the service. Now, we were sitting in their living room as they shared with joy how God was using their family to lead many of their friends and family to Jesus. Wow! Look at how much our God was orchestrating, the timing, the planning that He put in place, the people involved intentionally sharing the Gospel so that, one person at a time, Japan is being changed. If our God can get the inventive in reaching those who’s hearts are far from Him, how can we devise ways to do the same right where we live? Evangelism is usually something we avoid because it feels awkward or intrusive or we are afraid of rejection. If we truly want to know the Father’s heart and participate in what He is doing we must get creative, inventive, intentional about how we can meet people where they’re at with the Gospel. Maybe, our upcoming Mothers Day, Fathers Day, graduations can be times to share the Good News of Jesus with those who are celebrating with us?
Jesus, thank you for Your heart to reach out to those who have rejected You, have run far from You, or who have never known You! I can’t wait to participate with the inventive ways your germinate in our heats to reach those around us! Let us never forget that our primary purpose is take as many with us as we can to Heaven. That evangelism doesn’t happen without a plan in place is something You are reminding me of this morning.