by Samuel Chiang
(Editor’s note: This is the 8th in a 10-part series on how our theology informs our evangelism.)
It was well over two decades ago when our young family was ‘sent ones’ into Asia and living in Hong Kong. One would have thought because of the missionary role that it might have been easy to tell others about the gospel. One would have thought that growing up in a missions-minded church, the Peoples’ Church in Toronto, where congregants were exhorted to give and give (and I did), that personal evangelism would be well practiced.
One would have thought all those missionary reports to be sent back to the head office and for supporters would have been sufficient motivators to practice evangelism and tell others about Jesus.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. I was afraid to do evangelism cross-culturally. I was not a great practitioner of telling people about Jesus, and I hated to fill out forms of any sort!
On that Sunday morning Kinlaw (who was a part of the Asbury College revival in the early 1970s) set the grand historical context of the Old Testament. He told about God’s purpose and motivation in sending Jesus and how God knew that one day He would have to give His own son to redeem it. When Kinlaw explained Jesus’ quotes from Jeremiah 7 and Isaiah 56 (the context of Jesus’ great displeasure when he stood in the Temple), I finally understood: what was practiced in the Temple was ‘getting’ and ‘preventing’.
The sellers in the Temple were ‘getting’ wealthy (as it was used as a place of business), and the same religious hierarchy were ‘preventing’ foreigners to come so that the Temple was no longer a place where “all nations may pray.” On that day, Jesus declared the real sacrifice was there and the Temple was no longer needed.
As a young missionary I had to reexamine my life and my walk. I had to ask myself: Am I living out the very essence of Jesus’ purpose of life—to give of oneself?
This change in conviction took time to implement since overcoming fear was not easy. I often had to ask myself if I was like those in the Temple ‘getting and preventing’ others? Over time, I felt compelled to give my own voice to telling people about Jesus. Regardless how else I might be able to give, the giving of my voice—the audible sound telling about Jesus—is a gift that I can give.
Every time I open my mouth to a friend or a stranger, I have the opportunity to give! How cool is that?
Samuel Chiang is president and CEO of The Seed Company. Born in Taiwan, he grew up and worked in Canada and formerly served as COO of TWR. He has authored book chapters in diverse genres including innovation, orality, and persecution.