During July, I had the opportunity and honor to spend a month serving the community in the Dominican Republic. During this time, we ministered to the kids at the church and every afternoon, we would do street evangelism. We would walk out of the church, go up to a random person, and initiate a conversation about the Gospel. While this initially was extremely hard for me, evangelism became my favorite part of the trip. But it was also an incredibly heart-breaking part of the trip as I realized how society so often offers such a perverted and twisted version of our Gospel. These twisted words sound good, so people believe it, even though it has no biblical substance. Or some people have never even heard the Word. This is equally sad because Christians have been called to share the Gospel to all corners of the earth. And in a world of violence, fear, depression, and outright evil, this calling seems even more necessary than ever before.
Experiencing these things has sparked a passion and revival in my heart for evangelism. These experiences have pushed me and transformed me in so many ways– I could honestly write page after page of ways God has shown me His faithfulness. Because of this, I have learned so much more about the Gospel and God’s commands over our lives and I cannot wait to share some of these things with you.
In this article, I want to show you my heart for evangelism. I want to show you how evangelism is an integral part of our faith, and it absolutely cannot nor should not be ignored. First, I want to dive into a passage of the Bible that perfectly describes evangelism and mission work in our world today. I will explain it and then provide my reflections on it. Then, I want to dive into what actions we need to take as a community of Christians to centralize evangelism in our lives. These are not things we should do every once in a while, but our whole lives should revolve around spreading the Gospel. God commands it.
The Biblical Concept of Work
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Matthew 9:35-38
I have always loved Jesus’ parables and metaphors. I think there is just something so beautiful about Him using tangible examples to explain the Divine. It also says so much about His character—that while He is fully God, Jesus is also fully human and truly understands what life on earth is like. I think this particular metaphor is especially ‘relatable’ because it focuses on something that absolutely every human being is accustomed to: Work.
Every able person has done some sort of work, whether it be a job or a hobby. Many times, we even find our purpose in our work. But we also seem to hate the concept of work. This world has made being lazy seem so much more appealing than doing something productive. But at the very beginning of the Bible, and the beginning of time as we understand it, one of God’s first commandments to humankind is to tend to the garden (Genesis 2:15). He tells them to work in His creation, and there is a very divine purpose within that work.
Similarly, in Colossians, we are called to “work heartily, for the Lord and not for men” (3:23). Biblically, work was never meant to be something to dread, but rather a joy because it is a way to serve the Lord. Even more, work is a command from the Lord.
I think understanding this Biblical idea of work sheds a lot of light on the importance of what Jesus is saying in Matthew. When we understand that working for the Lord is a commandment, but then hear that “the workers are few” (verse 37), we understand that not tending to the fields isn’t only an act of laziness, but also a complete denial of God’s commandment.
So let’s break down this metaphor that Jesus presents. While it is so simple to understand, it has encouraged me so much in my evangelism. The “sheep without the shepherd” (verse 36) represents those who do not believe in Jesus or the lost. The workers represent Christians, whose jobs are to go out and sow the seed of the Gospel within the hearts of the lost. But there has been a major disconnect between Christians and the commandment to evangelize because even though there are billions of lost people in the world, the workers are few.
When we ignore the unsaved, we are forsaking the work that God has commanded us to do. We are telling God that our private lives and decisions are more important than His command to save souls. This is quite literally a matter of life and death, except even more dire because it is for all of ETERNITY. We have the cure to an eternity in hell: It’s Jesus Christ. If we claim to believe that hell is real, why would we allow those around us to so easily enter it? Why are we not putting up more caution signs? Why are we so often ignoring the topic altogether?
I don’t have the answers to these questions. I guess, in simplicity, it could be boiled down to selfish human nature. But Jesus refuses to leave us alone in our selfish nature. Jesus doesn’t just look at the problem and then walk away. Out of love, out of compassion, out of The Shepherd’s utter desire to see His sheep saved, He then ushers in a commandment to His disciples.
He says, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His field” (verse 38). I think this has mainly two implications.
First, Jesus is encouraging His disciples (and us today) that we need to pray about missions and evangelism. We need to be praying for our brothers and sister in the mission field. We need to be praying for the lost around us and be praying for opportunities to share the Good News with them. We need to pray for ourselves that we may be open to being pushed out of our comfort zones so we may fulfill God’s purpose over our lives. We need to ask the Lord of the harvest to start a revival in His people so that not even a single person goes without hearing the Gospel.
Secondly, we need to realize we are the workers that God is sending into the fields. Simply praying that other people will evangelize is not enough. YOU need to evangelize. Every one of us has been tasked with the mission to spread the Word. It is not something we can simply ignore because it makes us feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. At the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus commanded His disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). The Great Commission cannot be ignored by Christians. We have a job to do!
For my last thoughts, I want to leave you with this insight from one of my mentors in the Dominican. It truly was a moment of conviction and clarity regarding the urgency of evangelism. He said this: What if a Christian came up to you and said, “I know God tells us not to lie, but I haven’t felt Him place the calling to tell the truth over my life.” This sounds ridiculous because “Thou shall not lie” is a commandment given by God. But is this not the same thing that we have done with evangelism? Has God not told us that our purpose is to glorify Him by spreading His Word? Why do we think we can simply pick and choose the commandments we decided to obey simply because some are harder than others?
I hope you know all of my words written here are written out of love, but also with conviction. The harsh realities of how we so often ignore the calling of evangelism need to be addressed. We need to understand how absolutely crucial sharing the Gospel is to our faith. I encourage you to go, go do what the Lord has commanded each one of us to do. Spread the Good News! May the Lord be with you and bless your walk of obedience.