Should evangelism feel like something miserable that we have to beat ourselves into doing?
Should eating good, nourishing food feel like shoving sharp, pointed objects down our throats?
“The laborer’s appetite works for him. His hunger drives him on.” (Proverbs 16:26)
My friends have often teased me about my enthusiasm for food and my my exaggerated outbursts of joy when I eat something delicious. If it’s something special that I don’t get to eat very often, I can sometimes get so worked up about it that I start groaning and happily collapsing on the table.
As I started living with the Holy Spirit, I started to have a very similar hunger for evangelism, for simply telling people about Jesus who didn’t know about him. Although I didn’t really know how to do that, rarely did it, and it seemed very difficult and scary… it was a craving that never went away.
Eventually that hunger drove me to move to a place where I was surrounded by millions of people who’ve never heard the gospel before, to learn their language, and learn how to relate to them. The Holy Spirit graciously taught me how to enjoy these people and tell them about how Jesus died and rose again. And I started to constantly tell the good news of Jesus to people who had never heard it before.
Now I can literally crave getting in amongst a group of guys and explaining what Jesus did like I would crave plates full of the a quality Chinese food buffet, or the savor of a juicy, perfectly cooked steak.
There are also times when walking through a crowded park or square is like going through aisles of delicious food in the supermarket when you haven’t eaten for two days. You want to find someone to talk to and show them Jesus just as much as you would want to grab a pile of freshly grilled of sausages and chomp down.
A lot of the work is about riding waves of his appetites that well up within us.
I’ll often feel a deep desire to go visit a certain neighborhood, or hang out with a certain type of people. As I pray I’ll feel all this love for the people bubbling up within me and I have this irresistible longing to chat with them and just be around them. So I’ll eagerly go forward, get out of the house and jump on the bus. Then when I get there, I’ll meet some new people, have a great talk with them, and then get a chance to tell them about what Jesus did for the very first time! And there was literally nothing else that I could think of that would be more fun to do that night!
This appetite and hunger comes from Christ’s own desires and longings within us.
And we live these natural and healthy longings as we cultivate our good relationship with him, enjoy him, and live with him. We are comfortable with him and he is comfortable with us and we can work and eat together.
“It is HIM we proclaim… for this I toil, struggling with all HIS energy that he powerfully works within me.” (Colossians 1:29)
“It’s God who works in you to will and to act according to his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)
The hunger and energy and drive is HIS, given freely to us. Enjoy!