This month, we've been studying the 2nd Letter to Timothy, one of the three Pastoral Epistles in the New Testament. Last Sunday, we looked at 2 timothy3: 14- 4:5. Paul tells Timothy to Preach, proclaim, persist and persuade and then concludes “Do the work of an evangelist.”
“An evangelist? Really?” you wonder to yourself, “Surely, a run-of-the-mill Christian like myself is not an evangelist. Evangelists cause a scene. That's not me.”
But before you determine that evangelism is not for you. I want to share with you a story from the rescue of the Chilean Miners. It's a story few people may have heard about. It is a story of evangelism.
A man named Igor Bravo is the engineer who owns the geo-technical monitoring company that was called on to assist with the rescue efforts when the 33 men were trapped in a living room-sized chamber beneath the earth. The job of his company was to design a way to get through to the men with supplies. They were successful but as they continued, Igor became concerned that there was more than just miners' physical needs at stake. If they were to survive 2,000 feet below the earth, they needed hope.
See, Igor was a trained engineer who also attended a local church. He was a Christian, a Baptist, who may have learned (as paul describes Timothy) of the teachings of the bible from childhood. We don’t know for sure, but he said later that his faith is important in everything he does. He saw the devastation of the situation and he told reporters later, "I had to help in some Christian way." (emphasized by me)
Igor Bravo called his pastor, Luis Cortéz, for help. They decided that if the pastor could get bibles, inspirational music or audio of sermons to the site, then Bravo would send it down to the men.
The result? Those men were lifted up, not only by prayers of us on the outside, but by the inspirational Christian music, sermons and also the 33 Bibles that were made available. The men essentially “had church” a half-mile underground!
Igor Bravo said,
“If there is an opportunity to share the Gospel -- to contribute to the Christian cause and evangelism, it's something that's in [my] blood, in the church as a whole that all of us, no matter our job, are evangelists.”
All of us are evangelists.
All of us see needs everyday. They may not be as dramatic as the needs of men in peril a half mile beneath the earth. But the needs are there all around us.
For Igor Bravo, the need of God’s people was plain and clear. There was danger and the men were trapped.
But there are people in danger all around us. They may not be trapped 2000 feet underground, but they are trapped by relationships, substances – they are running on the wrong path in life and like a mine that only has so much oxygen, there is only so much life left on those paths that bring about death and destruction.
Does any of us see opportunity to be an evangelist right in your neighborhood? In your community involvement? In the gym you work out at or in the grocery store where you shop?
All of us are called to be evangelists - and invite people to the source of life – the grace of God in Jesus – For us at Olivet, we reconnect with the grace of God's love when we attend worship together. When we meet and remember and proclaim the “good news” that none of us is trapped. Life can be different as we grow in our understanding of the mystery of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection.
Invite someone to church. A stranger. A coworker. A neighbor. Afterall, it is most likely that you made your way to Olivet by invitation.
Let us learn from the committed faith of Igor Bravo, and see that all of us can do the work of an evangelist.
For more on the story of Igor, visit Baptist Press for more.