There is a sign hanging in my bathroom that says “Everyone wants to change the world but nobody wants to change the toilet paper roll.” As humorous as that sounds it aptly describes human beings. We all want to do something big that will be noticed and applauded. Jesus Himself accurately diagnosed this human condition in the New Testament. In Matthew 20 Jesus tells a parable about an employer who hires laborers throughout the day to help with his vineyard. The controversy arises when he offers the same wage to those who start first thing in the morning as those who hire in for the last hour. We see the first recorded strike because wage expectations were not met. The employees who worked the longest rise up in complaint over what they consider to be unfair treatment. The employer patiently explains that they agreed to work for that much money and that quite frankly as the landowner the wage decision is his. Jesus started the parable in verse one by saying, “For the kingdom of heaven is like…” Clearly He is describing those who are saved for years versus those who have a deathbed salvation experience and how both enter into eternal life in heaven. Our flesh wants to quibble over who lived longer or better for Jesus instead of focusing on the miracle of God continuing to pour out His grace up until someone’s last moments. Jesus ends it by saying, “So the last will be first, and the first last..” (Matthew 20:16).

Just following this parable the mother of James and John comes and asks Jesus to grant her sons the most prominent places next to Him in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus patiently explains why the answer is no and this exchange sparks a not so friendly debate among the disciples. Jesus reminds His disciples that in this moment they are acting out of their natural humanity and must come to this situation with a heavenly perspective: do not push to be the first or the most recognized, instead choose to quietly serve. All of this takes place as He is on His way to Jerusalem to quite literally change the world in one of the most humbling and humiliating, not to mention excruciatingly painful ways possible. 

After it was said and done and the disciples had full understanding of what happened, did they return to this conversation in their memories and recognize how foolish they had been demanding their “rightful” place as their Savior marched to His death? Perhaps looking back over our lives we wince remembering those moments when our prominence was far more important to us than Jesus’ agenda. Yes, even in something as pure and holy as spreading the Gospel, dissension and pride can get the better of us. Why? Because we have an enemy who is willing to do whatever it takes to crush the momentum of turning the world upside for Jesus. Spreading the Gospel does not have to be newsletter worthy events, it doesn’t have to be salvation by the thousands and baptisms by the hundreds (the validity of those events is a question that needs to be asked). Spreading the Gospel looks a lot more like people praying in secret, Bible studies over lunch break, the gospel saturated greeting or farewell to your barista, extending an invitation to your co-worker for an evangelistic event at your church, or leaving a tract with the cashier at the register. 

If each Christ follower would adopt the attitude of doing what they can right where they are at (in their family, their neighborhood, their community, their school, and their workplace) we would quite literally turn this world upside down and it would be a collective effort, not a one man podium. Consider your specific sphere of influence. Where do you work, where do your children attend school, sports activities, or music and the arts? What grocery stores and gas stations do you frequent? Where do you go out to eat? What is the culture of where you live? How will the people around you best respond to a gospel influence in their life? Evangelism is not just for the preachers and missionaries. Every single follower of Christ is expected to share the gospel. This fact leaves some of us with our knees knocking in anxiety and fear. Or we feel like we have to do something life changing like going on a missions trip to truly share the gospel. 

The ironic thing is that when we find the best deal on strawberries or that new and improved shampoo that does wonders, the song that just soars us to the heavens, or no money down interest free deals, we rush to our social media feeds to inform the masses because we don’t want anyone to miss out on such amazing deals! Why do we feel comfortable telling a perfect stranger to check out the BOGO offer on aisle three in the grocery store but can’t bring ourselves to invite our co-worker to church? Jesus trumps all the BOGOs, chart-topping songs, and best interest free deals around! 

Time is running short for those who do not know Jesus. What are you going to do about it? Ask yourself that question out loud. “What am I going to do about it?” Think back on the horrific wildfires that have swept the United States at different times over the last few years. First responders, neighbors, friends, and family did everything they could to warn those in the path of the fire and beyond that did what they could to help them escape. There is a fire coming that won’t be quenched, there is a torture coming that won’t end. Are we being diligent to warn those in its path? I’m not suggesting you throw on a sandwich board covered in flames and run through traffic pointing your finger, shouting at people to get saved. Just do what you can right where you are at. Obey the Lord as revealed in His Word, no matter how you feel or how you think it will turn out. God’s got those details. 

I will share a quick personal testimony here. I carry a box of Bibles in my trunk and hand them out. One day at the grocery store the woman next to me was loading her groceries in her trunk at the same time I was. That box of Bibles was staring me in the face and so ensued my argument with God with all the reasons I couldn’t and shouldn’t do what He was asking me to. I took my cart back to the store and slowly walked to my car, hoping she had left. She was still there. I went for it, sweaty palms, shaky limbs, and all. We had a short conversation, nothing drastic, and surprisingly she accepted my offer of a Bible. As I handed it to her, she had tears in her eyes and said, “Thank you, we had a house fire last year and lost everything.” It was a dagger to my heart. I drove out of the parking lot simultaneously confessing my unbelief and praising God for how He came through yet again. 

Faith isn’t God calling us to walk across a solidly frozen pond to the other side. Faith isn’t even God necessarily asking us to do something huge. Faith is God asking us to cross when it doesn’t look safe but when we take a step we find the ground solid underneath us. Faith is God asking us to do the little things that when combined with everyone else’s little things will equal world changing. Will you step out in faith today and share Jesus with the people around you even when it looks scary? Even if it won’t gain you recognition? Together we can turn the world upside for Jesus!

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