Colossians 4:18 — Find A Way
I struggle. I struggle with reading about all those people who have gone before me, and who, by my estimation, had bigger and bolder faith.
I know comparison is often not good. I read about how some forms of comparison are bad. I can intellectually agree with those assessments. However, I realize the distance between my brain and my heart is much more than 12 to 18 inches.
I, therefore, write this bit with trepidation.
Paul is in jail. I don’t want to go to jail. Do you?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a book called The Cost of Discipleship. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do. He went to jail. He died in jail. For Jesus.
Paul is NOT noting that he is in jail because he is looking for sympathy…rather, at the end of the day, because we need to understand. We need to understand that there is a battle raging for each of us. Literally. Our souls and bodies hang in the balance. Will we spend eternity with God…or not?
Most of us cannot live at this level of thought minute by minute. It would be torture. Most of us go about our day doing our jobs and interacting with the people God has put in our path. Most of us focus our energy on any manner of items and people which are, well, short of eternity. Yet behind these routine, and at times mundane, interactions, lies the deeper truth—we are either for God or against God.
And Paul, using his own situation, calls us out.
As I said, he is not looking for sympathy or empathy. He is not looking for churches and schools to be named after him. No, he is looking to simply remind us, to bring to the frontal cortex of our brain, the reality of what is really going on.
People’s eternal lives depend on Jesus.
When I write that “there is a battle raging for each of us. Literally. Our souls and bodies hang in the balance…” I am not suggesting that those of us who know Jesus as Lord must somehow work our way into God’s grace. I am not suggesting that at all. Rather, what I am asking myself is simply and profoundly the following: if I know Jesus, if I am going to spend eternity with him, then to what degree am I burdened for others who have yet to meet him?
If we believe that people’s eternal lives depend on knowing Jesus, then what do we do?
My answer is simply: Find A Way.
Find A Way, your way, to invite others to meet Jesus. I am not saying drag them violently to him. I am simply suggesting that God has placed you on this spinning globe at a specific location, in a specific time in human history, with a specific set of skills, and with a specific group of people. Find a way to invite them to meet Jesus.
Feed the poor, help the homeless, coach a local team, share a meal with a widow(er), open your home to a lonely neighbor, show your favorite waiter or waitress that you truly care, visit folks in nursing homes, or even teach someone your hobby. (Are you great at gardening? Woodworking? Fixing cars? Sewing? Teach someone else. Want to learn something new? Ask someone—who knows how—to teach you. Teaching or learning one-to-one is a terrific way to build a relationship.)
Please though, whenever you do these things, make sure the Gospel is offered.
It is quite frankly why I love The Pocket Testament League. I love Jesus. I love God’s Word. While I love the field of apologetics, I find arguing with people unhelpful. So, I simply offer them a Gospel of John and invite them to read it, and I let them know that I’m available if they want to talk about it.
I pray and trust that God is in the middle of these moments. In fact, God has shown me he indeed is present. Many times, my offer of a little 64-page booklet uncorks all sort of emotions that have been building up for just this moment.
Offering a Gospel of John to someone is not the only way…it is simply my way. If you want to learn more about how, you can check out www.ptl.org. For now, the point of this reflection is to find a way—a way to invite people to meet Jesus.