Evangelize is a scary word. At least to me it is. It conjures up thoughts of door to door knocking, handing out tracks and asking people “Do you love Jesus?” There are many ways to evangelize, however, that really won’t scare the boots right off your feet. In reality, evangelism should be as “simple” as you living out your normal, day-to-day life.
But all we need to do is follow the example of Jesus. He got up each morning full of life and hope, He communed and continually dwelt in the presence and rest of His Father and He went about His daily work. Wherever He went He brought about a better situation. Some of course, weren’t willing to accept His way, but He reached out to anyone willing to step into His presence, take the risk and touch Him.
Here are six ways to evangelize, and live like Jesus lived as you live your life at work, home and play:
- Think it out. “What a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) What you are thinking about will come out. It’s that simple. Are you watching movies with a lot of cuss words? You will probably be more apt to cuss out that “good-for-nothing-useless-piece-of…” or any other long line of expletives when the horse frogs you right out of the saddle or rips its foot out of your hand for the 14th time while shoeing. Are you endlessly thinking about what so-in-so did to you and how they acted towards you and how they owe you this or that? Then most likely you will find yourself in the pickup with a friend, spewing out a lot of gossip. If you are not thinking on the Words found in the Bible and methodically training yourself to think about the ways of God and listening to His voice, then you might be missing the opportunities set before you to let the thinking of Christ come out of your mouth to radically help your surroundings.
- Talk it out. No one likes a double tongued, two-faced person. If people know that you are a Christian, they may try their hardest to get you to talk like them and be like them, but deep down they are really only testing your convictions: Is it really true? Do you really mean what you say? Do you say one thing to one person but the exact opposite to another based on what you know they like or expect? Do an honest evaluation. Do you talk a lot but forget the living it out part? If someone who had never met you were to watch you for the day just out of sight, what would they see and here? What would they say about you and your character?
- Live it out. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23) With the application of this verse alone, you will stand out among the masses. As Christians, we never want employers to say about any of us, “Yup, uh-huh, I’ve had a “Christian” *scoff* work for me before. Worst, most complainin’, lazy son of a gun I ever did see.” Work out your faith with fear and trembling at all moments: home, work and play. Live out your faith so that there is no doubt that you are what you say you are.
- Pray it out. “Never stop praying.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) There are a lot of hurting people out there, including cowboys, maybe even especially cowboys. Some have lived a pretty rough life, and many people, regardless of occupation, have had hurts and losses: marriages, children, jobs, finances, sickness or being busted up and battles with alcohol and drugs. And most people are willing to and actively talking about their problems. Getting emotions off our chests is important but there also comes a point when we need to stop the entourage of words. When you just know that you need to talk to Jesus about it. With your cowboy friend. Standing above a cow pie. Covered in branding muck. Amid the din of mooing mama cows, talk to Jesus. Grab your friend’s arm and pray life and hope into his situation. Always be looking for the opportunity to pray for the people around you because there are always opportunities to pray.
- Submit it out. “You who are slaves (employees) must submit to your masters (bosses) with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel.” (1 Peter 2:18) Oof. There’s THAT word. But it really doesn’t have to be THAT bad. It’s mostly a matter of attitude. Your boss of the day and your peers all see how you react when told to go check that fence or doctor that cow in a way that you would do differently. But the reality is, if your name is not at the top left corner and the bottom right of the check, then you really don’t have a say in the matter. Let it be said about you that you were finally a worker that would do what the boss wanted and how he wanted it. It’s ok, really. The macho-show-off-and-show-em-up-way really isn’t as endearing as you may think.
- Love it out. “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) This is another word that is just tossed around. I “love” pizza… (I really do), I “love” Joey+Rory…(actually, I really do), I “love” Quarter Horses… (Yup, I do). And for what we use the word love for, it means what we mean. But the love Jesus is talking about is a love that is kinda hard to swallow. It’s the death kind of love. And I don’t mean for that to sound… morbid. It’s the kind of love where we die to ourselves to bring new life: new life into our own situation and into the world around us. That we can be so honoring to our bosses and fellow cow punchers that it may even be to our own hurt. But sacrifice is the essence of the Christian life. It is the gift that literally keeps on giving. When you love out your life and are willing to give it all, people cannot help but notice.
It’s time for the people of America to stand for what we believe in. To not just talk a lot of talk when it’s convenient or safe. But we also need to walk in love as we do stand up for what we believe. Did Jesus rile up the religious crowd in His day? Oh, yes, He did! But everything He did was out of a divine love for all mankind.
We may rile up people. Jesus’ way is different and difficult. But this can’t deter us from living our lives to the fullest for His sake. When we draw our last breath, we will not regret it.
Don’t take your eye off the end goal. If you believe Jesus called you to work and live where you are, then be all there and don’t give up! Keep on being a cowboy. Keep on riding your horses. Keep on providing for your family. Keep on having fun with your friends.
And while you do all of that: think, talk, live, pray, submit and love like Jesus did.
Keep encouraging yourself: Boss, I’m a Christian, 5 ways to stay spiritually connected during calving season, Church and cowboys