By Andrew Hoffman
Why should we bring the gospel to people who, relative to the rest of the world, seem to have life pretty well figured out?
Living in the Bay Area, I often feel like an unimpressive person surrounded by lots of very impressive people. From this seemingly diminished position, it can be intimidating to try and share the gospel with them, to have the audacity to suggest they need something more in life. Of course, as a committed Christ follower, the greatest and most compelling reason to get past my intimidation is my conviction that heaven is real, the gospel is the only way to get there, and rejection of the gospel results in consignment to hell. I must share my beliefs on this subject with my non-Christian friends. There is great eternal loss without the gospel.
But what about now? Is anything lost by living apart from Christ right now? What does it matter when someone who is already warm, well-fed, wealthy and winsome decides to live apart from Jesus? Or, to put it another way, if someone clearly disagrees with us regarding the afterlife, is there anything we can fault them for in this life in order to keep the gospel conversation going? What is wrong with the capable person here and now? What do they lack?
Perhaps we need to think of the capable person in a different way. Perhaps the issue for capable people is not what they lack but what they are failing to give. It seems God measures out capability in strangely uneven ways. Some people are highly adept when it comes to making life work and some are less so. Given the way God thinks of people and community, it has to be that the more capable ones have always been intended to take care of those less capable. “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48).
When a highly capable person takes all his or her ability and aims it at self preservation, it is like when a seasoned farmer used to working acres of land confines himself or herself to a backyard garden box. He or she could provide for so many more. Capable people were always meant to give of their overflow to those with less. And when such people start doing so, when they start entering the mess of other people’s lives, they start to genuinely need a relationship with Christ. Like those they serve, they too become people in need of help.
When Jesus met a young man who had everything going for him, he challenged him to use his overflow for those in need. “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me,” were his exact words (Matt. 19:21).
Fellow Christ follower, let’s stop being intimidated by capable people. Let’s stop comparing ourselves to them to determine if we are justified in trying to add the gospel to their lives. Instead, let’s just keep serving and giving with all the capacity Christ provides and let’s invite the capable people around us to do the same. Just maybe some will say yes. ©