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Safely Investing Love for the Sake of the Gospel

Many people are ready for a new start, a reboot, and a good-bye wave to a tumultuous 2022. And it seems they are more prone than ever to invest themselves into things that matter.

There is a popular book entitled, “The Good Life” by Dr. Robert Waldinger. A team of researchers studied families from across generations and different socio-economic backgrounds since the depression era. They asked detailed questions and performed medical examinations.

After decades of study, a lead researcher pointed to one huge determining factor that had the greatest impact on a person’s health and happiness: cultivating warm relationships of all kinds.

That shouldn’t be a surprise. Yet, how many of us struggle with personal connections. We long for warm relationships that goes beyond texts, emails, and social media.

Effective evangelism means cultivating relationships with “all kinds” for the sake of the gospel. There are people all around us who don’t know Jesus. 

What’s so interesting about building connections with people and getting to know our neighbors is that it’s a healthy pursuit that brings joy and purpose. Our personal well-being will be impacted for the good.

But there is a greater blessing.

When we engage people for the sake of the gospel, Christ shines through us. Entry points are gained to tell others what that Light has done for the world. And due to your personal investment into another life, you will be joyfully surprised when those relationships will listen with keen interest.

Love safely expresses itself outwardly to others when we feel love inwardly.

This past Christmas, I received another lesson about God’s love.

I love to play golf. With my young granddaughters visiting us at home over the holidays, I knew they love arts and crafts.

I thought it would be fun if they could apply their artistic talents and decorate my golf balls with Sharpie pens. With broad strokes of color, red hearts, and messages of “good luck”, my own grandfather’s heart was softened.

I plan on using those decorated golf balls.

When I place my granddaughter’s ball on my tee and I am ready to swing my club, I will remember this key point:

No matter what happens, I am loved.

Personal evangelism is risky and unsafe. It’s not that we will be physically harmed or arrested, but we will extend ourselves with the risk of being hurt, discouraged, and disappointed. It means stepping outside the hamster wheel of a busy, normal life and doing something abnormal – “cultivating relationships of all kinds” – for the sake of the gospel.

But remember this: Whenever we boldly step out in faith to proclaim our faith to others – we are deeply loved by God.  Even when we feel like we will swing and miss, Jesus tells us to tee it up anyway.

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