People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things (Mark 6:31–34).Notice the excitement of people who saw and heard Jesus and “hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.” They saw how the disciples conducted themselves, related to Jesus in love and obedience, and served strangers at His bidding. They heard the words the disciples said about Jesus, to each other as brothers in Christ, and to those they were serving in His name. They knew from the witness of the disciples that what Jesus taught was what they needed in their lives. They wanted what the disciples revealed in their words, demeanor, and actions. They wanted the same closeness with Jesus. What about us? When we are with our friends and family, neighbors and business associates, are they so impressed with what we've said and done that they want what we have? They want to know the secret of our peacefulness in a chaotic situation, our commitment to God and family when it’s inconvenient, and why we build our schedules around Mass and ministries. They may not recognize at first that they are seeking the same close relationship with Jesus that transforms all our relationships. The crowds that gathered around Jesus were there partly because of what the disciples had done in other towns. The people came from all around the countryside and they wanted to hear more about Jesus. They recognized the truth; they recognized his power. And that's what God wants all of us to do, to be His voice, His hands and His feet, His eyes and ears. He wants us to draw others to Him in great numbers so He can teach them and be with them and give them His love and care as their Savior and Shepherd. St. Peter tells us, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks for a reason for your hope.” (1 Peter 3:15) Where do we find the courage and confident assurance to share our love for Jesus with others? Here are four suggestions that could make us evangelists.
- Know that God loves you. Keep a vision of God loving you before you, in whatever way you visualize Him – as God the good Father and provider, as Jesus your brother and the Good Shepherd or the Holy Spirit, the giver of life who dwells within your heart. That’s something worth getting excited about! St. Paul writes,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in in him, before the foundation of the world. . . In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the one who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit,14 which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:3,4, 11-14).
- Believe “every spiritual blessings” are ours – today! We can receive everything St. Paul talks about as our destiny. The Holy Spirit will work with us to make what God choose us for a reality in our lives. We need to be willing to let Christ live in us the way Saint Paul did when he said, “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
- Trust the Holy Spirit’s promise to remind us of all that Jesus has said. He will give us the words we need at the moment we need them. He is already there ahead of us, ready and waiting beside the person who needs our witness.
- Keep a spiritual journal of the God-moments when God has shown His love for you in a spectacular way that is unmistakably supernatural. This will help you: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks for a reason for your hope” (1 Peter 3:15). You will know when and where to share one of these moments by the nudging of the Holy Spirit. (To learn more, see my Journaling Toward God series.)
What God-moment are you ready to share?
Copyright 2019 Nancy Ward
About the Author
Nancy Ward authored Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story: Tools, Tips, and Testimonies (and the DVD) and contributed to The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion. She loves to share her conversion story and give evangelization workshops and retreats equipping others to share their faith. She facilitates the DFW Catholic Writers, Catholic Writers Guild Nonfiction Critique Group, serves on their Board, and speaks at writers’ conferences. Learn more at JoyAlive.net and NancyHCWard.com.