An immensely meaningful influence on my young life was Mr. Rogers, a church planter and evangelist in my town in Argentina. His wife Mrs. Rogers signed my childhood autograph book. What she put on the page illustrates their contribution to my life better than any words I can describe. She drew a cottage in the corner of one page. The tiny house sat lonely in the dark. But out from its window poured tremendous beams of light, lighting up the darkness. Under the picture, she wrote, “Let your light shine,” quoting the words of our Lord Jesus in Matthew 5:16. That picture was so vivid that even then I took it as a message from the Lord. I was supposed to take the light to the darkness.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. —Matthew 5:16
From the time I was kicking in the womb, my mother prayed I would preach the Gospel. “Go to towns that don’t have a church!” she’d urge me. “Take the Gospel. Plant churches.” She pushed and encouraged: “Go, go, go.”
As an adolescent, she continued to urge me toward evangelism. I replied, “Mom, I’m waiting for the call.”
“The call?” she said, with that dry tone only a mother perfects. “The call!” She was getting upset. “The call went out two thousand years ago, Luis! The Lord’s waiting for your answer; you’re not waiting for His call.”
Over the decades I have drummed certain phrases into our team. One of the key ones is simply: Proclaim! Not just preach, proclaim. It has all the force and freshness of an authoritative announcement of Good News, which is precisely what the Gospel is.
Proclaiming the Gospel doesn’t mean walking around with a sermon prepped and stuffed into your back pocket. It’s much simpler than that. It’s my mother, smiling and sharing the truth over steaming coffee in her house in Argentina. It’s just saying the Good News: “God loves you, He has a plan for your life. If you are honest enough to repent and believe, you will be forgiven and become a child of God. He will never leave you, He will live within you, and when you die, you will go to heaven.” That’s a pretty good deal. Why not proclaim it? It is not your job to brilliantly persuade, merely to joyfully present.
Lift Him high. Proclaim until the whole world adores Him, drawn by that vision of the crucified Jesus, who is perfect in mercy and love. The Great Commission is not impossible. It is not ridiculous or stupid. Playing a part in nations turning to Christ is not a bombastic, egotistical dream. It can happen. Jesus said go into all the world, and He meant it. I long to see this generation move the hearts of millions of people. Two thousand years have gone by, and we still haven’t finished the job Christ gave us.
All too often, our lives are so divided, so segmented, that we can smile and nod at the Gospel and then go about our routine in as we always have, without more compassion and without the slightest sense of urgency for those who are sinking into meaningless despair.
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free… —Luke 4:18
The Good News remains good. But we will never have true compassion for the lost, no true commitment to the Good News, if we do not believe it. This seems painfully obvious. But I ask you, if you really believed what you say you do, would your life change? Isn’t life the truest test of belief?
How do you get a passion for the lost? R. A. Torrey said that you need to not only know what the Bible says about the separation of the lost from God but believe it, letting it lead you to prayer and action.
Deep down, everyone feels unworthy. We should speak to that part of a person, not to their façade or the mask that they’re putting on. We need to speak to that small, childish, unworthy feeling place in their soul that Jesus wants to save and love. The worth and joy of life in Christ will pull them in like a magnet. Every sin and problem we fall prey to is just another way of covering up our pain.
Our relationship with God must be set right. Our agony at being separated relationally from the One who made us brings us the torment that we seek to numb and the brokenness that hurts others. We are lost. We need to let our heavenly Father find us. This Good News could change the world.
If you’ve found that freedom, are you sharing it with others? Are you listening to God’s voice about whom you can help encourage, empower, and set free? Let the Lord lift the pressure to brilliantly persuade, and instead, begin to joyfully present His good news. Everywhere. Be that light.