November 5, 2012
There's a wonderful legend about Saint Francis, the kindly thirteenth century monk, who one day informed his brethren that he planned to go into the nearby village on a preaching mission. He invited a novice to go along. On their way, they passed an injured man, and Francis promptly stopped, saw to the poor fellow's needs and arranged medical care for him.
They went on and soon passed a homeless man who was near starvation. Again, Francis stopped his journey and ministered to the hungry, homeless man.
So it went throughout the day; meeting people in need, and Francis lovingly caring for them as best he could. At last, the sun was low in the sky, and Francis told his novice friend it was time for them to return to the monastery for evening prayers. But the young man said, "Father, you said we were coming to town to preach to the people."
Francis smiled. "My friend, that's what we've been doing all day."
That is evangelism at its most faithful. True evangelism is ministry to people in their need. Evangelism is done when we are not worrying about numerical growth or adding to one's own conversion record or winning acclaim within the denomination. Evangelism is sharing the love of God in tangible ways among His children.
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