Jesus said of the harvest of lost souls: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38). If we members of the church are not teaching those over whom we have influence to know Jesus and thereby to be saved, then there must be some reasons for our failure. Perhaps these are among them:
- It may be that we are not truly converted ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:14).
- It may be that we are under the misconception that evangelism is only for smart people or seasoned saints (Acts 8:1-4).
- It may be that we think it’s just the preacher’s job to evangelize (2 Corinthians 5:11).
- It may be that we have filled our schedules to the point that we no longer have time to study or teach the gospel (Ephesians 5:16).
- It may be that we are too distracted by the cares of the world (Matthew 13:22). Entertainment, careers, and family have taken all of our time.
Or, it may be that we are frightened of teaching our friends about Jesus. A feeling of nervousness about the risk of causing discomfort or alienating others causes us to keep quiet. To encourage us to overcome this real fear, allow me to point out two facts:
- Fear of evangelism is from the devil and not from the Lord. Paul wrote, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self- control” (2 Timothy 1:7, emp. added; cf. Matthew 28:18-20). If it is not God Who leads us to fear evangelism, then it must the devil and his servants.
- Fear of evangelism is a form of selfishness. If we had the only antidote for a disease that was killing everyone in the whole world, it would be our responsibility to distribute the antidote. To refuse to do so would be selfish. We have the most valuable message in the world—the good news about Christ’s saving blood, the only antidote for sin. Therefore we have the responsibility to tell others about it in the most effective way possible. To refuse to do so because of our own fear is to value our own comfort over the souls of others, but such is a mistaken calculation (Matthew 16:26).
Even if we are not ready to lead Bible studies all by ourselves, we can assist in Bible studies, give our friends Bible study tracts or DVDs, or invite them to Bible study and worship. May God help us to overcome whatever may be keeping us from sharing the gospel with any over whom we have influence.