Country Pastor: Accidental evangelism: Relax, but be ready
As we read aloud from the Bible my friend looked up and said, "Does this mean I don't have to worry about converting people anymore?" I was startled but I had to agree with her. We had been reading through 2 Corinthians 2 but also reflecting on places like Acts 1, and I realized that when Jesus tells the disciples, "You shall be my witnesses," they neither set up on a street corner with a bullhorn, nor do they book a travel agent to travel to the farthest nations.
Instead, look at how Peter's first sermon and the subsequent conversion of 3,000 people came about. The disciples, both men and women, had simply been praying in the upper room in obedience when the Holy Spirit fell upon them and they began to speak the praises of God in many languages. This was, not surprisingly, a bit startling to the people in Jerusalem, and they gathered in consternation and wonder but some asked aloud whether the disciples weren't just early morning drunks. It was to defend himself and the others against the charge of public drunkenness that Peter speaks, and in so doing is compelled to share the gospel.
To paraphrase: "You meant the death of Jesus for evil but God meant it for your good." What we see with Peter and even more clearly with Paul in all of their preaching is that, in fact, we don't need to worry about evangelizing at all. The pattern that we see throughout Acts and the entire New Testament not to mention the Old, of "stumbling" into preaching the gospel is everywhere. Truly, "in Christ Jesus we are created to do good things, prepared in advance by God for us to do."
Without a doubt we will be the Lord's witnesses, and "make disciples of many nations" but this is not because of our own efforts, but rather because we will see and hear wonders of God and he himself will provide a situation where we are almost compelled to share what we know. In other words, as my friend also said," Relax but be ready. " We will simply, through no effort or worry beforehand, find ourselves telling the story, say, of Samson, or perhaps reminding someone of Jeremiah 31, even without directly quoting a single phrase.
We will find ourselves, like Peter, like Paul and all the disciples, quite easily and innocently sharing the gospel, "accidental" evangelists. As Jesus said, "my yoke is easy and my burden is light."