Urgent Matters

Do you know anyone who would say he’s not busy? With the exception of older saints, who are more vital to the church than they often realize, I can’t remember the last time I heard someone say life is slow and he has plenty of time. The busy life is the normal life. And it’s sad.

Let me tell you the story of a Christian friend of mine. Ben insisted he had no margin in his life. Yes, he knew he should take time to share the gospel with others. Because he’s a friend, I rather boldly asked him to look at his smartphone to see how much time he had spent on it in the recent past.

He went to Screen Time and was shocked to see these weekly averages:

  • Social media: 5 hours 32 minutes
  • Games: 2 hours 41 minutes

The busy life is the normal life. And it’s sad.

I asked if he looked at social media on his laptop, and he responded sheepishly, “Yes, probably 30 minutes a day.” That’s another 2 hours and 30 minutes per week. Do you see? Ben was spending 8 hours a week on social media and almost 3 hours a week on games.

He turned red when I gently asked if he watches television or a streaming service. He nodded affirmatively and muttered, “Yeah, a couple hours a day.”

Here’s Ben’s annual time log for these areas of his life:

  • Social media: 416 hours
  • Games: 139 hours
  • Television/streaming: 730 hours

That’s 1,285 hours of margin per year from just these three areas. How much unrealized margin do you have? Though I’m not suggesting you do away with social media or entertainment, you can certainly carve out some time for more important aspects of your life—including evangelism.

But I’m Afraid!

I admit I haven’t confirmed the number, but different sources I checked said “Do not fear” appears in the Bible 365 times. That’s one admonition and encouragement for every day of the year.

God knows we have to deal with fear. It’s a normal emotional reaction to many challenges in life. As an introvert, I fear going to social events where I’m expected to carry on small talk with people I hardly know. When I was a child, I remember fearing something would happen to my parents.

Fear could very well be a reaction you have to sharing the gospel. The first time I told someone about Christ as a young adult, I thought my heart would beat right out of my chest. Then the unexpected words exited my mouth: “You don’t want to go to hell, do you?” Oh, dear. God still used that moment of fear to bring my friend Jim to salvation in Christ. He calmly responded, “No, I don’t. Can you tell me how to go to heaven?” There you go.

Pray that God will either remove the fear or use it as you seek to become a more obedient Great Commission Christian.

Multiplying Excuses

I wish I could say I have a good excuse when I’m negligent about sharing my faith. The real issue is that I just don’t do it.

Excuses come naturally to us. We’re too busy. We don’t know what to say. We don’t have any unbelievers in our lives. We don’t know how to deal with objections. We don’t want to offend people. We don’t want people to see us as crazy or weird.

Perhaps you’ve used one or more of those. Or perhaps you’re more like I am. You really don’t have an excuse. You simply fail to be obedient at times.

Perhaps you’re more like I am. You really don’t have an excuse. You simply fail to be obedient at times.

I remember several years ago thinking my main challenge in being a Great Commission Christian was finding the time to witness. My excuse was that I was too busy. Then I started praying that God would give me opportunities to share Christ amid my busyness. Since that prayer, I’ve been blessed by one opportunity after another.

Ask God to work amid your excuses. You’ll be amazed to see how he answers that prayer.

Use Your Margin

I hope you already have margin built into your life so you can deal with these immediate moments of need. Urgent matters don’t have to stop evangelism. Indeed, it’s possible that in a crisis you’ll find opportunities to be a Great Commission Christian.

Pray for wisdom when urgent matters arise. Look for gospel opportunities in them.

Thom S. Rainer

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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