“Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words when necessary.”
– St Francis of Assisi
Did St. Francis actually utter these words? Blogger Julie Zimmerman’s take:
This is a great quote, very Franciscan in its spirit, but not literally from St. Francis. The thought is his; this catchy phrasing is not in his writings or in the earliest biographies about him.
In Chapter XVII of his Rule of 1221, Francis told the friars not to preach unless they had received the proper permission to do so. Then he added, “Let all the brothers, however, preach by their deeds.” (for more, click here)
My friend shared an account where simple engaging kindness lead to an invitation to hang out, which lead to a another friend sharing the gospel, which lead to the young man attending church and considering making a decision for Christ. I don’t think this guy winds up hearing from said friend without the initial warm friendliness extended – lifestyle evangelism at its best.
I’m a huge fan of lifestyle evangelism…especially when it’s consummated with WORDS.
Romans 10:14 tells us, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
Some Christians have the GIFT of evangelism, meaning they’ll probably bang about every person they see with the Good News that man can have peace with God in this life and enjoy eternity with him in the next. (I don’t have this gift.)
However, gifting aside, ALL of us who call Christ, “King”, have a responsibility to follow the Spirit’s leading to plant seed, water and/or sometimes harvest a soul who is READY. That requires being in tune with the Spirit…and eventually using WORDS.
With regards to being in step with the Spirit, many of Christ-followers are aimlessly wandering and missing opportunities to share their faith because they’re not reading their Bibles & praying regularly. Worse, they forego any chance at lifestyle evangelism because they act precisely the same as unbelieving friends: engaging in gossip, excessively worrying, get publicly drunk (or worse), use foul language, etc.
I wonder what it is about that lifestyle that they hope to pin Good News on? Some of them claim, “freedom from sin,” and then hurl accusations about judging them. The fact remains, they are missing opportunities to be used by God to change lives forever.
They are missing chances to greet people in heaven that say, “I’m here because God used you.”
Hey Christian: sometimes you gotta use WORDS! Peter admonishes us to “Always be prepared 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,” 1 Peter 3:15. We must not limp through life not being able to share our story, or knowing what’s required if this person wants to cross that line of faith NOW…
The first part of that verse commands us to “…revere Christ as Lord.” – if we’re doing this, then we will take His Great Commission seriously:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20