To Save a Life

The LORD hates cheating, but he delights in honesty.
Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Good people are guided by their honesty; treacherous people are destroyed by their dishonesty.
Riches won’t help on the day of judgment, but right living is a safeguard against death.
The godly are directed by their honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin.
The godliness of good people rescues them; the ambition of treacherous people traps them.
When the wicked die, their hopes all perish, for they rely on their own feeble strength.
God rescues the godly from danger, but he lets the wicked fall into trouble.
Evil words destroy one’s friends; wise discernment rescues the godly.
The whole city celebrates when the godly succeed; they shout for joy when the godless die.
Upright citizens bless a city and make it prosper, but the talk of the wicked tears it apart.
It is foolish to belittle a neighbor; a person with good sense remains silent.
A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.
Without wise leadership, a nation falls; with many counselors, there is safety.
Guaranteeing a loan for a stranger is dangerous; it is better to refuse than to suffer later.
Beautiful women obtain wealth, and violent men get rich.
Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.
Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last.
Godly people find life; evil people find death.
The LORD hates people with twisted hearts, but he delights in those who have integrity.
You can be sure that evil people will be punished, but the children of the godly will go free.
A woman who is beautiful but lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.
The godly can look forward to happiness, while the wicked can expect only wrath. 
It is possible to give freely and become more wealthy, but those who are stingy will lose everything.
The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
People curse those who hold their grain for higher prices, but they bless the one who sells to them in their time of need.
If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!
Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring. 
Those who bring trouble on their families inherit only the wind. The fool will be a servant to the wise.
The godly are like trees that bear life-giving fruit, and those who save lives are wise.
If the righteous are rewarded here on earth, how much more true that the wicked and the sinner will get what they deserve!
Proverbs 11

Again…another chapter from the book of Proverbs that I could spend a month on.

After last night’s Bible study, I was forced to look at verse 30 again: The godly are like trees that bear life-giving fruit, and those who save lives are wise.

We had just completed reading Acts 8; the last segment of that chapter pertaining to Philip and the Ethiopian. This led to a discussion on the types of evangelism the church uses to reach others (e.g street corner, tract, relatoinal).

Someone once asked Lyman Beecher, the great preacher, “Mr. Beecher, what do you consider the greatest thing a human being can do or be?” Without hesitation, the famous pulpiteer replied, “The greatest thing is not that one should be a scientist, important as that is; nor that one should be a statesman, vastly important as that is; nor even that one should be a theologian, immeasurably important as that is. But the greatest thing of all is for one human being to bring another human being to Christ.”

Every Christian’s job is to witness for Jesus Christ.

Street corner evangelism tends to be the more uninvolved form of reaching out to others. I see it all the time in downtown Minneapolis. The man standing on a pedestal (backets or blocks…whichever is handy) on the corner of Nicollet Mall and 6th street where the busses run at the end of the workday, proclaiming the gospel (or seeming to) at the top of his lungs (some can be heard blocks away) about how if you continue living your life this way, you will burn in hell. There usually are 3-10 others around him, handing out pamphlets or tracks. I’ve even seen the unfriendly sort…uninvolved. Cut-off.

How do they know that lives are being saved?
How do they know that person will seek out a church in their neighborhood?
How do they know that person was truthfully choosing to follow Christ?
How do they know?

Simple. They don’t. There is no follow up involved. The man standing on the block isn’t investing in that person’s life and usually, neither are those around him.

I’ve done some tract ministry before through Campus Crusade. While this form of evangelising doesn’t sit well with me (must be a personality clash or something), I learned a lot from it and discovered that I preferred the relational form more.

For me, being involved in someone’s life means more than standing on street (or walking the boardwalk) handing out tracts to random strangers that I would never see again. On the other hand, the latter made it a bit easier….but still intimidating to someone who has never done it before.

Through relational evangelism (as seen in Acts 8 between Philip and the Ethiopian), we are able to invest in that person’s future (no matter the length of time). We can disciple them (if God calls us to), follow up with them, lead the way and continuously point to God in all things.

Reaching others relationally calls us to integrity; to have the character of God evident in our lives, not just on Sunday mornings, but every day. It requires us to be involved in that person’s life; to be a constant figure. It definitely requires time and may require resources, funds and other things that you may or may not be willing or think you’re ready to give. If it comes to that point, pray about it.

Personally, I’d rather do it relationally even though that scares me half to death sometimes. Fear of what the other person would think…fear of stepping on toes…fear of rejection (for the one thing that truly matters…seems I pitch a fit way too often over things that don’t)…fear of getting fired (if at work)…the list goes on.

I love people and would much rather be involved in their lives rather than just be someone who crossed their path for three seconds just to hand them a pamphlet before moving on to the next person. I’m talking about the people I see every day:

  • The janitor at the Baker Center who is constantly sweeping up dirt and trash on the floors of the skyway or washing the glass doors by the elevators. I see him everyday and yet haven’t mustered up a greeting.
  • The security guard at the Gavidea; sitting at the info desk and looking like he’d rather be any place but there. I wonder how his day is going.
  • The homeless man who lives just outside of the Convention Center that says good morning to me on my way to work every time I take that route.
  • The guy sitting in the cubicle next to mine.
  • The manager at my gym. We know each other by name and greet each other in the skyway, but haven’t yet struck a conversation.
  • The pregnant teenager working at the coffee shop in my neighborhood.

I could go on.

 Again I state: Every Christian’s job is to witness for Jesus Christ.

Why?

Jesus commands it in Matthew 28:19-20. The reality of Hell makes it necessary (John 14:6). Christian love demands it (John 3:16).

When it boils down to it, we also need to remember that “soul-winning” is not about us. It’s about God, who came to save us. It’s about Jesus. It’s about His Kingdom.

Who can touch today?

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