A few weeks ago, we looked at Luke 10:1-24. It was too long for us to cover in an hour, but one thing that did stand out to me was question that one of the students asked about verse 4, “Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.” He asked, “Why do you think they were sent out like this?” A follow up question was, “How would you respond to someone who came to your door with a suit on? Or plain clothes? Or with armor?”
I then saw something significant in the passage: the place from which we share about the kingdom of God is crucial. It is with a certain meekness, not weakness. It is with a certain confidence without arrogance. It is with a boldness that is gentle. And what I saw was that even as they were sharing about the kingdom of God, these messengers were very much in need themselves. They had much to offer but at the same time were utterly dependent. It was from a place of humility because in not bringing anything, they were aware that they had nothing to offer but God. It was not about how clever they were or how charming they could talk. They didn’t even really have themselves to offer. They were just heralds and messengers of the one who was to come.
So I think about how Christians evangelize today and how Christians share about the kingdom of God today. How often do Christians approach others with spiritual arrogance and pride, thinking that they are better? How often do Christians mock the worldviews of others? How poorly do they communicate God’s love?
How can one share to another about the need for God when the one who is sharing doesn’t feel that same need? From my experience, evangelism naturally flows out of one’s own experience of God’s love and transformation. It is really hard to talk about something that you don’t care about. Getting someone with a stagnant or nonexistent spiritual life to share the kingdom of God with another is like trying to get a Chinese international student to talk about the Super Bowl.
The mission advances when one experiences God individually and communally and when open channels are available for evangelism. These two go hand in hand: evangelism and spiritual growth. And that is what we see in Luke 10 and throughout Jesus’ ministry. I think you can start with either one, but the mission won’t be sustainable unless both components are present.