This is an interesting story that has me thinking a lot about our intentions at Christians. Pastor Dean Inserra, my pastor here in Tallahassee at City Church Tallahassee, commented on the issues of evangelism today while at the conference, mentioning the idea of a friend, relative, or even stranger being a project. I know I can attest to viewing others like that one-too-many times. We all have those friends or know those coworkers who do not share our faith in Christianity that we pray for and invite to all events. But, I often wondered if my motives were for the kingdom or for myself; to be able to put it on my Christian resume, if you will, that I led someone to Christ. It is definitely an exciting feeling to welcome someone into God’s family. And we should be glad, and rejoice for the expansion of the kingdom, but are we approaching this correctly. This past Sunday while Pastor Dean was at the Southern Baptist Convention, we had a guest speaker at church speaking on this topic too. The past two weeks have been focused on the Nicene Creed and how it relates to us as Christians. If some of you are like me, I didn’t not grow up learning the creeds, seeing as the creeds are typically Catholic-based, and I grew up in the Baptist Church. However, City Church, being non-denominational, and fully focused on the Word, is utilizing this creed to teach the beliefs of Christianity. You can see the sermon here. During this past Sunday’s sermon about the creeds, our guest speaker spoke on God being the creator of all that is seen and unseen and how all things are through him. It has been a topic that has constantly appeared for me this past week: to work for God and not for man. Colossians 3:23 states, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” To me,t hat’s pretty powerful stuff. Everything we do, we need to do in humility, working for His kingdom and not for our own gain or praise. Our guest speaker touched on the topic of holding doors, saying that he is a chronic door holder. He tends to get a little happy high from those who say thank you, but is annoyed when people don’t acknowledge his gesture. I had a similar situation happen this week at work. I had mentioned last year to my boss that we should have a monthly or semester-based e-newsletter to update everyone on the successes of the Veterans’ Center. They had disregarded the statement, claiming that it was a good idea, but that since I was an intern, I wouldn’t be around for long to continue to publish this newsletter, so the idea was dropped. On Tuesday, I received an email asking for formatting for a new e-newsletter for this department. I was super upset, explaining to my boyfriend how it was my idea and how I wanted to be given credit. My mom explained that unfortunately, that’s how it happens in the real world. It was really frustrating, but as I think more on it, and review this topic on working for God and not for people, I am reminded that I need to be working for His kingdom, meaning that I shouldn’t be seeking recognition every second I get from humans. That’s not how it works. We need to give all the glory to God! That means that God is the only one to claim someone as a ‘project’ because every human, Christian or not, is a work in progress. Christians are not holier-than-thou, nor are they perfect. We are sinners just like the rest of the world, but what sets us apart is believing that Christ died on the cross for our sins. Christ died for EVERYONE, though. The nonbelievers, the atheists, the Christians, blacks, whites, Americans, Asians, all. But, by believing that you are saved from these sins, you are set apart, opening your heart to God. That being said, we need to come humbly to God, with an open heart, praying and asking for forgiveness, while also lifting those up in prayer who don’t know Him. That is our only “project.” We are to be followers of Christ, praying constantly, working humbly, and spreading the gospel. It is not our job to change someone’s heart. How can a sinner change the heart of another sinner? It can’t be done. Only Christ can do so. He can use us, though, as vessels of his work. We can pray to God that he will use us in his plan to reach others, showing God’s love to others. That can be through volunteer opportunities, being there for someone during a difficult time, or even just being a good, supportive friend. We don’ need to beat someone over the head with a bible, screaming Hebrew sayings. God will open His word to all. Acts 1:8 states,
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
We are commissioned by Christ, but he will give us the power to speak to others. We don’t need a specific app, or PowerPoint presentation. We need Jesus. We need God’s Word. And when God speaks through us, amazing things will happen, for HIS kingdom and HIS glory. Psalm 115:1 sums it up pretty well, “Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”
I pray Psalm 108:5 for us believers, that we will exalt God above all.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.