Devotions, Evangelism, Garden/Horticulture, Workforce

The Garden Club

Read: Ephesians 4:1-16

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

– Matthew 28:19 NIV


I was hired for one purpose and one alone: to sign customers up for the free Garden Advantage Club.  I was to sit at a table by the door, wait for each client to grab a cart, then ask them if they’d like to join.

It wasn’t a difficult task.  The club was designed to offer discounts on select products throughout the year as well as keep track of the bonus bucks that were earned with each purchase.  As an added benefit, the store would also track the receipts of club members.  (This was a major advantage, since the garden center guaranteed most of its product, but wouldn’t take returns or issue refunds without a receipt.) As customers signed up, I told them about our special Member Discount Days, our series of advanced member seminars, and the special members-only newsletter.

I was in the process of explaining the program to a potential member, but appeared to be losing the battle when another customer looked up from the pop-cooler she’d been rummaging in and began to explain how she, personally, had benefited from the club!  Within seconds, my potential member became an actual member.

The Bible tells us that some Christians are gifted as evangelists.  A bit like me, their spiritual task is to clearly present the benefits of the Christian faith to anyone who might be interested.  Their work, however, is incomplete without the help of other believers who are willing to simply and honestly share their own experiences as Christ followers.  Like my customer, their readiness to present how they have benefitted from their relationship with God can make the difference between someone else walking away, or placing their faith in the only One who can save their soul!

Challenge:  This week, look for opportunities to step out and share your own experience with Christ.  You’re sure to make a difference!


Why Me?

If you’ve made it this far, you’re already doing well! You clearly feel the Spirit leading you to share your faith, but you may still feel hesitant. After all, we pay pastors and missionaries to preach the gospel and “evangelist” is one of those gifts mentioned by Paul in Ephesians 4:11 – a gift given only to some of God’s people.
The truth of the matter is that there is a big difference between being called as an “evangelist” and being called to “evangelize”. While God may not have commissioned you to go out looking for opportunities to share Christ, you have certainly been called to share Him with those who find you. In Matthew 28:19-20, the passage frequently referred to as “The Great Commission”, Jesus commands:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.”

The indication of the Greek text is that this wasn’t Christ’s command to that specific group of disciples, but to all of His disciples for all time. And, while you may not have been called into the mission field, unless you’ve secluded yourself in a compound in the Sahara, you’ve already fulfilled the “Go” part of the commission. You’re in the world day in and day out, encountering it through work, your hobbies, or your school. You “go” into the world to buy groceries and attend meetings. You “go” into the world when you attend a sporting event or take an aerobics class. You “go” into the world when you leave the house to see a movie, get to a doctor’s appointment, attend a class, or meet your friends at the mall.

Being in the world, however is just the beginning. Jesus, praying to His Father in John, chapter seventeen, says that once we belong to Him, though in the world, are no longer of the world. This is where the command to “teach” comes into play… and surprisingly enough, teaching doesn’t always involve words. The apostle admonishes us in 1 Peter 2:12 that we should:

“Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

Jesus told us that:

“Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light.” (Luke 8:16)

While the Bible does not teach Salvation through works, it does teach that those who truly know Christ will serve Him. It is an act of love, our show of appreciation for the gift that He has already given us. (John 14:15) If you are a Christian, the life you live will reflect that and it is through this service that others will be attracted to Him. And those who are attracted are bound to ask questions. On such occasions, it is our charge to, “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the

hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15) And this is evangelism. You’ve heard the call correctly. Now it’s time to act upon it!