READ: Luke 8
THINK: One of the greatest military minds of the 20th century was French general Ferdinand Foch. (Picture) Foch commanded French forces in the 1st WW and eventually, during that war, was promoted to commander not only of all the French army but of all the American, British, and French allied efforts on the continent of Europe. Foch’s greatest achievement, however, came at the allies darkest hour. The German forces had occupied the Rhineland and they were bearing down hard on the rest of France. With the whole of the French army in full retreat, Foch was ordered to take command of the French 9th Army on the frontline of the fighting and the back line of the retreat.
Less than one week later, his maneuvering turned the tide of the war. As he engaged in heavy battle with the German forces Foch was asked to give a report to the Allied Central command. He replied in 5 short sentences: “Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I attack.” And he attacked. And he won. And I cannot help but be struck by the impact that Foch’s perspective had not only on his situation but on the outcome of WWI. His decision to attack when he was hard-pressed and yielding, when it was impossible to maneuver, turned the tide of the war. And he attacked because, while others would have looked at his situation and retreated, Foch looked upon it and thought, “situation excellent!” It was a matter of perspective.
I think it’s similar for us when it comes to evangelism. I think that the reason we are so wary of it, that we treat it like a dirty word sometimes, is that we look upon it from the wrong perspective. We often view it as a something that we’re supposed to do for God, we view it as a chore that He demands of us, and we view it with the understanding that we are responsible for the results. And none of that is correct. God wants us to be sow the seeds of his message and shine our light so that others can see it. He wants that for us not from us. He wants it because it gives us meaning and purpose in our lives and allows us the opportunity to build loving relationships with people and see them come to Him.
His call upon our lives to share our faith, both by living it out in the midst of a dark culture and by actively loving and serving people and telling them about Him, is a gift to us. It is an amazing opportunity for us to participate in something bigger than ourselves. It is a chance to live our lives in such a way that we make a real, eternal impact upon the world around us, as we sow seeds and shine in the darkness. We aren’t all going to be Billy Graham or Mother Theresa, but if we are willing to embrace the idea of being light and sowing seeds as God’s great purpose-giving plan for our lives, then we can all leave change eternity for those around us as God works through us.
That last part is incredibly important to remember: the way in which God worked through our lives! We aren’t responsible for the results. We don’t need to count up the people whom “we’ve converted” or even worry about whether we ever do. That’s not the point, and if we do that then we are often left feeling one of two things: disappointed and disillusioned because we feel like we’ve failed or prideful because we think that we’re really great at saving people and we’re really great at sowing seeds and shining light. But as Jesus tells us in this parable: the seeds fall on different types of soil. That’s not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to sow out of love for the lost people around us.
What if evangelism was more about loving people than converting people? What if it was more about prayer than about programs? What if it was more about questions than about having all the right answers? What if it was more about giving meaning to your life and the things you do than about fulfilling a requirement? What if all of your life could be all about eternity all of the time? God is calling us to go out there and live the way that He calls us to live and to love the way He calls us to love. He is calling us to look upon evangelism with a new perspective. He is calling us to be people who sow seeds and light up the darkness around us. He is calling us, like Ferdinand Foch, to look at the situation in our world and our culture and, instead of reacting in fear or timidity, boldly declare, “Situation excellent! I evangelize.” 🙂
PRAY: Ask God to show you where to light up your world. Ask him to give you the boldness to sow seeds and trust him for the results.