The person who combines her natural abilities to teach and lead others becomes a Christian leader. For most of us that means simply living out our calling in the families, workplaces, and congregations where God has placed us. Martin Luther said, “people who quietly do their jobs, tend their children, run the farms, fix shoes, cut hair and teach the children are the glue that holds the world together.” Each of us is called, each of us is chosen, each of us is gifted and entrusted with the task of transforming our little portion of the world. God promises that if we are rooted in Him, we will bear fruit.
Think of the disciples: a couple of uneducated fishermen, one particularly inclined to speak without thinking; a hotheaded zealot; a despised tax collector; an introvert or two that we never learn much about. Yet, when they began to preach and teach, “people were astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus.” We are not so different. When we work as if everything depends upon us, and pray as if everything depends upon the Lord, He will transform our natural talents into extraordinary spiritual gifts.
That doesn’t mean we won’t have doubts or feel inadequate. Years ago, I worked with a young woman named Vanessa. In the natural course of things, we shared what we did outside of the office, the things that were important to us. I often talked about my faith and my church. Vanessa shared that she and her husband came from different religious traditions and so they seldom went to church at all. They hadn’t found a place that worked for both of them. One day, out of the blue, I invited Vanessa to my church. I know it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit, because it had never occurred to me to do that. Immediately I felt uncomfortable. Now Vanessa would think I was some kind of pushy, religious nut and back away from our friendship. Well, it wasn’t that bad — but Vanessa didn’t come to church with me that week. A year later, after she changed jobs, I ran into her and she said, “I think I’d like to visit your church now.” She did, and in time she, her husband and her children were all baptized and confirmed. When her mother died, Vanessa told me how much being part of a caring Christian community meant to her during that difficult time.
As Christians, don’t we want everyone to experience that comfort and caring, whenever, however they need it? If we see a movie that excites us, we’re quick to say, “It’s great, you must go see it!” If we share Christ in the same natural and enthusiastic way, people will notice and some of them will change. Like the boy in the story of the loaves and fishes, when we offer our gift, however small, to Jesus, He will take it and use it to bless many.
I’m not done yet ….
For more about evangelism see: