The madness of love
is a blessed fate;
and if we understood this
we would seek no other:
it brings into unity
what was divided,
and this is the truth:
bitterness it makes sweet,
it makes the stranger a neighbour,
and what was lowly it raises on high.
~ Hadewijch of Antwerp, thirteenth-century poet and mystic.
Do you ever catch yourself thinking that you’ve failed in your responsibilities as a Christian because you haven’t shared the Gospel enough lately? Do you ever feel like if you were to die tomorrow you wouldn’t have done enough to tell the world about Jesus Christ? I do, and particularly when it comes to my non-christian friends and family, the result being that I spiral into this overwhelming sense of guilt and shame that I have failed God. Sound familiar?
The thing is that God is not scoring our worthiness on how many people we have shared the Gospel with. His love for us doesn’t change whether we talk to one or to one hundred and one people about Jesus. The Father’s deepest desire is that we would desire and want to know him more, to stay close to him. This reminds me of a post by Steve Wiens, aka “The Actual Pastor”, who suggests that rather than running around trying to be in the world for God we should aim to be in God for the world (Steve Wiens, “Being in God for the World”, Sep 10, 2013 http://www.stevewiens.com/2013/09/10/being-in-god-for-the-world/). My understanding of his message was that when we stop trying to have an agenda, for example of “spreading the word”, and just go about our daily lives seeking to stay close to God we might be surprised by how He uses us. Maybe we should stop determining our own “to-do-lists” for the day and start each morning asking God what His agenda for our lives looks like. Maybe then we will walk into unexpected, yet spirit-led opportunities to share the gospel with those around us…