I grew up hearing the story of how my grandfather’s life was changed when he came to saving faith in Christ at a Navigators’ retreat. I also remember him talking about Dawson Trotman, the founder of The Navigators, but I didn’t have any context for the man or his ministry. After my grandfather’s death, I acquired some books from his bookshelf, including The Navigator, but Robert D. Foster. The book is not a biography, but a portrait of Dawson Trotman’s passion for evangelism and discipleship. I have been slowly reading through the book, a little at a time, over the past couple of months. I have gained a clearer picture of The Navigators’ ministry, and it has helped me understand how my grandfather grew to be the Christian man whom I knew.
As I read the accounts of Dawson Trotman’s life and ministry, I sense something missing in my heart and in my life. I read how this man had committed himself to sharing Jesus with someone every day. He took the commitment seriously enough to get out of bed and go out driving late one night because he realized he hadn’t yet spoken to anyone. I am not even sharing Jesus with people every week or every month. I am certain it is not a coincidence in my life that this past October at church there was a special sermon series on this topic, called “Sharing the Treasure.” That was a three-week break from going through the Gospel of Mark. After that, we were back in Mark and studying parables about sowing. What was most clear to me, was that I was not sowing.
“If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.”
I know well that I should be sharing the Good News of salvation through Christ Jesus. But the introvert in me recoils, and I have so many excuses. I work at a Christian organization, so I don’t know many unbelievers. And, I am not very good with people. I am both outspoken and opinionated, and I always say things I shouldn’t. God doesn’t take excuses, and why would He? He knows exactly how He has equipped each of us for His work, and He has given His Spirit to help us in this work. While general “people skills” may not be my strength, God has given me a gift for communication. I need to be using it. Perhaps this blog is a cop-out. I use my communication skills to write about various topics of Christian living, while risking and sacrificing very little.
One of my favorite things to do at work is solve a problem. There are few things that energize me more than researching an issue to figure out what happened so that I can come up with a solution. When I unravel something complex, being the communicator that I am, I want to share my excitement with everyone. Meanwhile, there are people all around me who have a life-and-death problem of sin. I have the answer they need. If I introduce them to Jesus, He can solve their problem. I should want to share this so much that I am bursting. Why aren’t I bursting? All of my skills and experience point to the fact that I can communicate to others the problem-solving power of Jesus Christ. How can I keep silent?
So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
The other night, after reading another chapter of The Navigator, I picked up Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening* and opened to that evening’s devotion. As I read, I realized that God was continuing to pound this message home: “If you have a nervous temperament and a retiring disposition, take care that you do no indulge this trembling propensity, lest you should be useless to the church. Seek in the name of Him who was not ashamed of you to do some little violence to your feelings and tell others what Christ has told to you.”
I know that guilt is not constructive. It does seem, though, that God has chosen this season to convict my heart on this matter. I am challenged, but I am not sure where to begin. I look at my life and how I am living it, and I see that something must change. I need to evaluate, and I need to listen to the Spirit’s leading. I need to be willing to take risks and willing to change. I need to have a compassionate, loving attitude for those around me who are lost. I need to remember that neither comfort nor resources matter to a dead woman.
*Morning and Evening: a new edition of the classic devotional based on the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, by Charles Spurgeon, edited by Alistair Begg.