As beginning deer hunters, my brother and I came up with a brilliant plan to bag a buck during hunting season. Any hunter knows that deer are fond of apples, so we found an apple tree and liberally rubbed sliced apples all over our skin and clothing, hoping to give off an appealing scent that would lure deer into shooting range.
I’m not going to get into details describing how many times that plan failed, or speculate on what my poor mom must have thought when she did the laundry. I will tell you that we did have some curious deer poke their noses in the air and check us out, but we didn’t fool any of them. They were probably more confused than anything else.
But that didn’t cause us to lose hope and give up hunting altogether. It was just part of the learning experience of which methods work and which don’t.
In the endeavor of sharing the gospel, I have had plenty of evangelistic failures. I have tried new one-liners as conversation openers when approaching strangers that fell flat. I have tried different means of gathering crowds for open air preaching that failed miserably and left me looking like a fool.
I have tried acting, looking, and talking just like the world in order to win their friendship before I sprung the whole “I believe in Jesus” thing on them. Believe me, that doesn’t work. It’s more confusing to them than anything else, and you’ll be called a hypocrite.
But those experiences, and others like them, didn’t cause me to give up and abandon the mission field. They simply gave me insight on what to do, and what not to do. I won’t pack it in and quit because of a few awkward moments. My love for the lost is greater than my fear of failure or embarrassment.
The apostle Paul was a man bent on winning souls. He would stop at nothing to reach people. Look what he says, ” I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” 1Cor9:22
You think he didn’t experience failure? He was beaten with rods, imprisoned, stoned, whipped, etc., narrowly escaping death many times. This is a guy who went for it in ways you and I haven’t even come close to.
Yet he persisted. Why? Because he loved people. He loved them even more than his own life. “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people” Romans 9:1-3
Paul lived what Jesus told us to do, to “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13
It’s a pure, sacrificial love. Do you love your family, friends, and neighbors enough to sacrifice what it might cost to reach them?
You might fail. Make witnessing a regular part of life and I guarantee you’ll experience failure on some level. But arent they worth it?
Somebody thought you were.
Think about that today and how you can reach your world for Christ.