From out of the holiday bedlam a self-promoting world throws its annual tantrum toward those vocal heralds known as evangelists: “The audacity of those proselytizers always talking about God and Jesus and salvation. They need to keep it to themselves!” To some minds, apparently, the mere mention of “Jesus loves you” conjures images of pushy street vendors banging pots and pans to sell their wares.
Gee whiz. Why all the fuss?
Remember as a child the excitement of going to the circus? It was quite the rollicking scene. Yet, I don’t ever recall anyone grumbling: “Boy, oh boy, can you believe that voluble carnival barker bellowing, ‘Step right up to the Big Top! The Greatest Show on Earth!’ Of all the nerve!” Surely that’s because people understood that even in the midst of the hullabaloo–tromping elephants, zany clowns, and mortals flying through the air with the greatest of ease–the barker had a job to do. His less-than-subtle purpose was, and is, to rouse excitement and thus convince others to part with their hard-earned money.
Now compare this motive with that of the evangelist–to proclaim the good news about a free gift available to all. An odd comparison to be sure. In fact, I can’t think of anything these two roles share in common other than the desire to communicate a message in a public forum. And it is here that their treatment seems so glaringly inconsistent. While the barker, if not exactly embraced, is at least tolerated, the evangelist faces increasing censure from all public and even many private platforms. One might be tempted to suspect that the critics find something threatening about his message, since even an ear-piercing carnival barker is free to expound most rapturously about the wonders that await all who venture inside.
On second thought, I just changed my mind: The carnival barker and the evangelist do share something else in common. The world just doesn’t want to hear it.
I hope this encourages you to proclaim the Good News today!
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