Many years ago I was really blessed with what felt, at the time, like a great disappointment. I discovered that I did not have a call to pastoral ministry. From my earliest days in dank Sunday school basements I had been encouraged to “think about going into the ministry.” At age 12 the bishop who confirmed me said as special prayer setting me aside for ‘the ministry’. Everyone including me expected that inevitably I would become an Anglican priest. It was a huge let down when I discovered that this was not my call in life. I lived quite unhappily with that disappointment for a few years until I had a conversation with an eighty-something retired Anglican priest and missionary to Canada’s North. He asked me if I had ever considered Church Army, now Threshold Ministries, I said “What’s that?” He explained that it was a society of Evangelists. When I asked him what an Evangelist was he explained that it was simply someone who recommends Jesus to people. Suddenly my disappointment with God lifted! I knew what I was created for!
At Up Town we have an expression, “It isn’t rocket-surgery.” By this we mean that just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it isn’t simple. Living a life of recommending Jesus to people and living a life that recommends Jesus to people is at its heart both simple and impossible. At its heart it involves simply following Jesus and simply loving others while recommending Jesus to them.
Simply following Jesus though is impossible! He calls us to the most radical things. My friend Tim Chesterton recently wrote about the most ‘forgotten’ commandment “Love your enemies.” This one has dropped off most of our radar. Following Him is simply impossible. There is a prayer in the Anglican Book of common Prayer which has this line “as much as without Thee, we are unable to please Thee.”Translated into English that means to simply please God we absolutely need His divine power working in us!
Recommending Jesus to people is also a simple matter of loving them and walking with them. During the walk our friends share their hopes and joys, their fears and frustrations. We simply then point them toward Jesus and recommend Him who has met us so graciously through our own hopes and joys and fears and frustrations. If our lives simply line up with the recommendation we make then we have provided a fresh and vital option to our friends.
To simply come to Him in faith our friends need Him for He is the chief evangelist. Scripture teaches that we are “dead” in our sins and that we are only made “alive” by His miracle working power. He it turns out is the “Author and Finisher” of our faith!
Simple? Yes! Impossible? Yes! But in dependence on Him we can do this.
My friends in the social justice movement have a saying “Live simply so others can simply live.” I think this adage has significance not only in the physical world but in the eternal Kingdom.