Today I’m pleased to introduce you to author and blogger Patrice Lewis, who has a refreshing idea about evangelism. Grab a cup of tea, sit back, and enjoy the freedom of her perspective (as well as her great photos).
By Patrice Lewis
If there’s one group of people I’ve always admired, it’s the graceful evangelists – those blessed souls who take the Great Commission seriously but with humor. They never go around bashing people over the head with their Bibles, but win souls by gentle persuasion and honest truth.
I am not one of those graceful evangelists.
In fact, because I’m an introvert, I find it difficult to evangelize at all. This topic arose a few weeks ago during a relaxed late-night discussion with some new friends. The group consisted of scattered small independent-minded homesteaders gathered together in the city to attend a conference.
“I know we’re supposed to adhere to the Great Commission,” I confessed. “But I’m such an introvert, I find it hard to evangelize at all. I prefer to stay holed up on our little farm, weeding the garden and milking the cow, writing articles and working on my blog. Somehow I feel I should be preaching on street corners and working in homeless shelters, and it all makes me feel very guilty for not doing more.”
“There’s a Bible verse I can’t quite remember,” mused another woman. “Something about how we should live a life pleasing to God by leading a quiet life.”
I couldn’t believe my ears because I knew exactly the verse she meant. In fact, I had adopted it as my personal motto. I jumped up, retrieved my Bible, and turned to 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
“That’s it!” exclaimed the other woman.
This verse, we decided, may explain evangelism for introverts. Not everyone is called to proclaim from street corners. Nor is everyone called to move to urban areas and minister to those in need. Some, it seems, are called to live modestly on remote homesteads, striving toward self-sufficiency and independence, and evangelizing by example.
This recalled another discussion with a godly (and introverted) neighbor many years ago in which this same subject of evangelism arose. This rural woman was legendary for her deep faith, her gracious and stately hospitality, her warm family life, her enviable wisdom … and her tea. In fact, tea was her weapon of choice in the fight for the Gospel.
How? Because she used what she called the “straight stick” method of evangelism, inviting friends and strangers alike to share a steaming cup of English Breakfast over cozy conversation. During these visits, she quietly invited unbelievers to lay the “crooked sticks” of their lives next to her family’s “straight sticks” and compare the two. She never used this method to taunt or mock, but merely to invite. It was awesomely – awesomely – effective.
“Preach the Gospel at all times,” Saint Francis of Assisi is purported to have said, “and when necessary, use words.”
God made introverts as well as extroverts. Not all evangelism requires words. Perhaps tea can be just as powerful a weapon in the Great Commission as preaching on street corners.
I hope so.
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(c) 2019 Davalynn Spencer, all rights reserved.