If you knew the cure of a deadly disease that’s killing thousands of people, don’t you want to tell everyone of this good news?
This is the standard question pastors use to encourage church members to go evangelize and make disciples. In all honesty though, this doesn’t tug at my heartstrings at all. I mean, forgive me but I just think the question is too hypothetical. In my mind, there is no way I could discover anything remotely of medicinal value. And if ever I did manage to stumble into one, I’d probably be too worried it wouldn’t work on others that I’d probably just send an anonymous letter to a famous scientist so he could make further studies on the cure.
But of course that’s just me, and I know that behind that clever question is the idea that I should go and make disciples. Now that’s something I can wrap my head around with. Go and tell. Simple as that. It wasn’t until yesterday that my idea about discovering a cure changed dramatically.
During our small group meeting yesterday, our leader asked us about the highlights of the past week. One of the guys in the group told us how, for almost a week, his appetite was ruined by a canker sore (Filipino: singaw) that wouldn’t simply go away. Before he could even finish his litany of palate troubles, I was already at the edge of my seat. I know just exactly what he needed.
With the eagerness of a satisfied customer who is only too happy to recommend a product he found useful, I caught myself saying, “Do you know that in the Visayas, you can cure a canker sore in less than 30 seconds?” And I went on to tell the group the wonders of Canker Sore Drops, a product that was made Cebu and marketed only in selected parts of the Visayas.
When I was done singing the praises of Canker Sore Drops, I realized one thing: When it comes to canker sores, I have so much to say. I may not be a doctor but I am most certain that what I know is worth sharing. I would gladly repeat my story to the next person with a canker sore if an opportunity arises.
Coincidentally, our current sermon series was world missions- telling people of THE cure. I was surprised at the unmistakable spiritual parallel.
Whenever I encourage people to share the gospel to others, I am almost always confronted with a seemingly impossible excuse: they don’t know enough about God! “What if someone asks me about the Trinity? How am I supposed to answer that?” Most Christians like what they’re hearing in church. They love Jesus, they love church activities, but when it comes to telling others about their faith, they are too chicken to say something.
My sudden understanding of world missions and evangelism in general via Canker Sore Drops teaches one very important lesson for all believers: You DON’T HAVE TO know a lot! You don’t need a degree at Asian Theological Seminary to tell your friends about Jesus. When it comes to sharing the gospel, you only need to talk of the things that worked for you. In my case, I didn’t need to discuss the chemical composition of Canker Sore Drops or the cellular activities that happens right after I apply the liquid into my tongue. I only needed to tell my friend that after twenty seconds, I could eat normally and enjoy grilled fish with delicious “sawsawan” (vinegar, soy sauce, lemon, sliced onions, green tomatoes and red pepper).
What does this mean? It means that saying “Jesus saved me from suicidal tendencies” is far better than conducting a six-week classroom type instruction on “Understanding the Basics of Soteriology.” I mean, seriously, how many in your circle of friends know what soteriology is in the first place? Biblical teaching and systematic theology have their own places in Christian development but they certainly don’t come at the time when you are just beginning to tell the person about your experiences with Jesus.
The funny thing is that we worry about theology so much. We feel like we need to memorize the Bible first before we can tell people of the gospel. The problem is that by the time you already mastered Christian doctrines, you will have stayed within the church walls for too long that you no longer have unbelieving friends around you.