Many years ago, there was campaign against man-caused forest fires. The campaign “starred” a little bear cub that, while burned, survived a man-caused forest fire. The tagline for the campaign was, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires.”
From a strict understanding, of course, it’s not just you that can prevent forest fires. It’s you and everyone else around whose behavior contributes to the amount of man-caused forest fires. Of course, you can only prevent forest fires when you are the contributor of the originating fire.
That was the beauty of the campaign. Ultimately, it was just you that can prevent forest fires, it was you and your friends and everyone else working together to prevent man-caused forest fires.
What, you may be asking yourself, have to do with Zechariah’s Holy Spirit-driven prophetic speech over an infant John the Baptist? Re-read it, and where it says, “you, child…” say, “me, [your name]…”
Just like the campaign starring Smokey the Bear, it wasn’t just John the Baptist who was called to go before Jesus. Each and every one of us is called to “go before” Jesus in our daily lives.
How that works in each person’s life will, for most, remain a mystery. However, when we live out a faithful life that witnesses to the power, grace, and love of Jesus Christ, we go before Jesus. Once we are asked a why or how question about our lives, then we get to announce Jesus.
You probably never thought of yourself as John the Baptist. That’s probably a good thing, for none of us can be another person, nor did God call us to be that way. We are not called to be John the Baptist.
You are probably not called to eat wild locusts and honey. Nor are you probably called to wear a hairy coat. We are called to follow in the “spirit of” John the Baptist by proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ.
When we think of evangelism, we generally think about sharing Jesus with people who don’t know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Perhaps, however, we are just as called to share Jesus with those in the Body of Christ (the church).
Paul wrote to the Ephesians about the varying roles within the body. The overarching goal is, “…unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son…” He wrote that to Christians.
Our (good) desire to reach people who don’t know Jesus may well have obscured something essential. We need to continue to evangelize (i.e., tell the Good News about Jesus) each other.
1) Where and how do you see yourself evangelizing those that do not yet know Jesus? How about those who already declare they know Jesus?
2) What scares you most evangelizing? Does that fear change depending on whether they are already or not yet believers?
3) What are some ways evangelizing is (or should be) performed within the body of believers?
Holy Spirit, guide our hearts to always be evangelizing one another. Amen.