I know I am the only person this has ever happened to.
You are going about your daily business, shopping, getting coffee, walking the dog or what not, when you suddenly bump into a stranger who immediately becomes your best friend.
They greet you with a smile and a warm hello.
They take it a step further, asking you about your business that day.
The questions progress with this perfect stranger in a random location until you realize… you have been targeted.
You are right in the middle of a Jesus infomercial. It’s like QVC Jesus, the reality version.
I remember this happening at Starbucks. I was curious as to why this stranger had meandered out of his path towards a caffeinated beverage to speak with my wife and I.
The jig was up quick since I have experience with this. I entertained his questions leading us to a potentially spiritual conversation. I wanted to say, “Hey man, we’re already in the club,” but I didn’t have the heart. I let him finish his prepared pitch then told him I was a youth pastor at another church. I think he was actually disappointed I was already a Christian.
When you leave those conversations it feels like a middle school breakup. Neither of you were really sure what the relationship was in the first place but in the end it’s awkward.
We like to say, “Oh but their intentions are all good.” But are they really? Sometimes I feel like we are just trying to add another rung to our conversion belt.
Francis of Assisi is often quoted as saying (although the origin isn’t verified), “preach the Gospel always, when necessary, use words.”
We just need to use fewer words in our preaching sometimes.
My friend once told me the story of his dad’s opportunity to “preach the gospel” as Blockbuster Video.
There was a man in front of him waiting to ret a video. The man realized he had forgotten his wallet and went to put the video back. My friend’s dad jumped in and offered to pay for the video. When the man asked why, his dad offered that it was because he loved Jesus and he believed Jesus said to love others is to love him.
Jesus told his disciples, in Mark 16, to proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
He didn’t say, “Sell me as best you can.”
Jesus’ doesn’t need to be sold. We don’t need to offer a sales pitch.
When we focus on who he is, how he has changed us, and how he cares for the world, we live out what he called us to do even when the words escape us.
Might we not sell Jesus to anyone, but offer him to everyone.
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15