Engage 2019: Sow or Reap

“Is she your girlfriend?”

“Yeah.”

“How long have you been together?”

“About a year.”

I stood by as a fellow student waited in awkward silence after this conversation. She had prayed for God to give her the right words, stepping out of an elevator with a bad word written on the wall and rushing to return this man’s forgotten speaker and water bottle. We walked through the tall, asylum-looking doors into the Family Planning Associates’ waiting room, the same room our evangelism leaders from GCC had been preaching to with a loudspeaker just a few minutes before. 

But his girlfriend was behind other doors now. It was too late. 

The truth was this man wasn’t planning on having a family, and he didn’t seem to care about it. The two students beside me said we’d pray for him and walked away. We were disarmed by his complacence – as helpless as the baby in his girlfriend’s womb.

It’s hard to know how to feel in these situations. I didn’t even know this man’s name. I couldn’t see a doctor aborting his child. All I could sense was the rush of walking into a clinic as a young woman who would never use their services. The room, the office, this man – it all looked commonplace. That is the most sickening thing about abortion. Murder is commonplace, and I can do nothing palpable to stop it.

At the metro station, my evangelism group walked up to a woman with gauges, a nose ring, and red hair. She was waiting for her ride and so had time to spare. When we asked about her beliefs, she was initially curious why we would ask such a personal question, but as she opened up, her questions were intuitive and her answers honest. Her father was religious, but she said she was happier now without trying to pray every day or go to church. She believed herself to be a good person and was surprised when we didn’t agree that her good works would save her from hell. 

“And if I go to hell, then at least I tried,” she said. We gave her a tract and wished her goodbye.

I returned to campus feeling as if the whole day had been unfruitful. Why did we go? Had anybody listened? Did my weak efforts even make a difference? Even if I prayed for the man in the waiting room or the woman at the metro station, would it change their minds?

After the evangelism workshop, I spoke with Sheldon Ko, one of the leaders who had preached truth and compassion from a loudspeaker earlier that day. He encouraged me to remember that just showing up and being there for the team was making a difference. I could fulfill the command to evangelize even if I wasn’t gifted as an evangelist, and I would only get better. I then spoke with another student who had participated, and we shared how the day had shown us our inadequacy and where we needed to grow in our own convictions.

I realize that my fatalism has been killing my evangelism, just as much as it has been hindering my sanctification. Sometimes we plant seeds that we won’t get to see grow. Sometimes we pray prayers that won’t see fruit until after the first door has closed. Sometimes reading the Bible may not seem as if it lends immediate growth. But as we behold Christ we become like Christ. That’s what Sheldon pointed me to in 2 Corinthians 3:18, and now it’s on my sticky note:

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

Praise be to the Lord that He ministered to me as I sought to Engage in ministry. He prodded my heart to remember that evangelism is not about me and made me hungry to sow the gospel whether or not the harvest is mine to reap.