“We are unprofitable servants. We have done what we were obliged to do” (Luke 17:10). We all know what great joy it is to live in a personal relationship with Jesus and we share our faith and lead faith studies, not because we are particularly good at it or want recognition, but because, as servants, we want everyone to experience the joy of knowing Jesus.
On that note, I’d like to offer a few words of encouragement for those who will be leaving the familiar setting of campus evangelization and heading off to new and wonderful opportunities…
As I mentioned, doing anything new is always a bit of a challenge. Don’t be discouraged at all by this. Instead, try, by your life to show people around you the beauty of living in a relationship with Jesus, and look and pray for opportunities to bring people into a relationship with Him through your words. In other words, pursue the Lord with all your heart by keep your relationship with Jesus as your most important priority, and love others by asking if you can pray with them if they have a specific need, by sharing the UR with those who are interested, and by inviting them to take a Discovery faith study.
What I have learned over the years is: If you want joy, keep seeking to love Jesus more and to share him with others. When one opportunity seems to dry up, another will be opened up with a new infusion of life for you and others, if only you ask for it and seek the Lord with all your heart.
Here are some thoughts to remember as you try to evangelize where the Lord places you:
First, don’t worry or be discouraged if you feel a bit nervous. I still feel a bit nervous, and even St. Paul experienced this. He said: “I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive (words of) wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God” (1Cor 2:3-5). You may feel some nervousness, but know that whenever you share the Gospel message, God will give power to your words to bring conversion of heart.
Second, the rewards far outweigh any challenges – persevere! No matter how many times I have been disappointed by people’s forgetfulness or lack of interest or by the Lord allowing a door to close, the joy and fullness of life that I see in the people who do say yes to the Lord and live out their relationship, seeking to share Jesus with others, is more than worth it and causes my own love for Jesus to grow. I have come to see that it is true what Scripture says, that “no one who trusts in the Lord will be disappointed” (Isaiah 49:23, Rom 10:11). What seems like a disappointment or a failure, at first, when I surrender it to the Lord, he works out for something even better. So, persevere!
Finally, have great expectations! Now, as I am trying to build up leadership for evangelization in the high school where I work, I do not get discouraged for long. I know that God can move mountains, so he can move the heart of teenagers! Keep bringing to mind what God has done in the past and his promise for the future: that god will do “far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us” (Eph 3:20). Then you will have the strength to continue to pray, to look for and to use the opportunities the Lord will open up for you.
Colleen Stevenson is a CCO Grad, winner of the 2013 St. Francis Xavier award (presented to a CCO Alumnus who has responded to the call to evangelization and has shown to live out the “characteristics of a CCO grad”, after their involvement with CCO Vancouver).