The Witness of Kindness
At the risk of getting you sidetracked by another issue, I have to say that I have felt for many years that our “doctrine of every member is an evangelist” is misplaced and an unfortunate abuse of scripture. Don’t get me wrong! God gave us both his grace and his gospel to give away. It’s what Christlike disciples do – we give – like he did. But, Paul said that only “some” were evangelists, teachers, and pastors. (Eph.4:11-16) We infer that what was said to apostles and evangelists should be applied to all, but that thinking came from evangelical tradition rather than good exegesis of scripture. Something that important shouldn’t have to be inferred. It should be a direct command from God and the only direct command that I have found for Christians sharing their faith is Peters call for us to “Always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience…” (1 Peter 3:15) We must be prepared to share our witness with anyone we get the chance to share it with. Our hope is our witness, and the opportunity can be anywhere, at anytime, with any person.
Our witness is our story of what we believe and why we believe it. A witness is a personal perspective. It doesn’t mean debating or arguing but sharing. I pray daily, and especially every Sunday before I begin my lesson, “Lord, give us people to talk to…to witness to!” I believe he does it. He puts us in contact with men and women every day who are potential receivers of our witness. We need to understand that our witness is not just our story but how that story has impacted our life. We are different because of what Jesus did on that cross and what God did by bringing him out of that grave! We don’t act like the rest of the world. We treat people with “gentleness and respect.” That is a witness! It’s the difference Jesus makes in our life, and when we give it, people will ask questions, want to talk, and will allow us to share a witness. Kindness is such a rare commodity today that it’s a special witness of it’s own. It opens eyes, touches hearts, and creates opportunities for sharing. We need to see our call to witness as a call to show Christlike kindness to the world. Even if it doesn’t lead to a sharing of the gospel message, it’s planting seeds of Jesus-thinking that may grow into something life-changing some day. Sharing the Good News of Jesus may seem daunting to many of us, but planting seeds of kindness will always be a way to have a daily witness for God to others.