We all know the story of Zachaeus. He was short. He was corrupt. He was creative. Climing a tree wasn’t appropriate for a wealthy businessman but he did it anyway. But it resulted in a divine appointment.
This story gives us some keys to effective evangelism. Notice how Jesus did it:
1. Jesus was observant. Many of us charge through life with our own agenda and blow right past opportunities. With the crowd of people around Jesus, we would not have expected Him to look up in a tree. But Jesus was aware of his surroundings and opportunities. The first lesson we learn about evangelism is to be alert to the divine appointments in front of us every day.
2. Jesus was proactive. He actually invited himself to dinner. That may be too bold for many of us, but lost people don’t normally come knocking on our door. Evangelism demnands that we take initiative. Walking across the street to your neighbor takes initiative. You must take the first step in inviting someone for a BBQ at your house. Meeting a new person means extending your hand first.
3. Jesus socialized with sinners. This is counterintuitive. In our haste to separate from the world we have withdrawn into virtual monastaries. The average Christian doesn’t spend time with lost people. Yes, religious people will criticize you for this but if you want to follow Jesus you will be a “friend of sinners.”
The bottom line is this: If you are going to do evangelism like Jesus, you will socialize with lost people, you will have unbelievers who call you their friend, and you will be criticized for doing this.
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