Updated: Aug 8
We spend so much time telling God who needs to come to the faith right now that we often forget the others that God has put in our lives. And I don’t mean that we forget about the rest of our family, or our friends, or the people we work with. I mean that far too often we forget that some of these are ready and willing to come home if we would merely refocus our evangelizing efforts on them.
So what does it mean to refocus our evangelizing efforts?
It means to take seriously three facts about how God operates in our lives, especially when He invites us to evangelize others.
1. God Knows Who Is Ready
I know that this should go without saying but it is nevertheless worth repeating, some people are just not quite ready yet to receive the Gospel. And while there can be no way that you can know that, God certainly does.
This is one of the reasons why the parable of the sower is so important for the evangelist to reflect upon. The parable emphasizes the long game, where sowing the seed is only the beginning of faith— a faith that is always in danger of being strangled.
Of course, miracles do happen, and a person can appear to us all to be taking a giant leap towards the Faith just as Saul did two thousand years ago when he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus.
But more often than not, as a general and dependable rule, every person is at a different stage.
Some are dog headed atheists.
Some just don’t know what to believe.
Some are theists but not Christians, and some are Christians but have yet to discover the beautiful gift of Jesus in the Eucharist.
And of course, the stages could be clarified further.
But the point is, you don’t need to know these stages as much as you need to accept that they exist. This means that some people in your life right now are MUCH closer to becoming a fully engaged and believing Catholic than you are aware.
The fact is that while no evangelizing effort is lost, there are people in your life who it would be far easier on you to evangelize.
2. God Knows What You Can Handle
There is an exhausting and desperate feeling that can come over a person when they feel like their evangelizing efforts are not being rewarded. Indeed, the evangelist can even take their apparent lack of success quite personally.
But the fact is, while no evangelizing effort is lost, there are people in your life who it would be far easier on you to evangelize.
Perhaps your language of evangelization is the same.
Perhaps they are asking the kind of questions that you are quite adept at answering.
Perhaps you are simply better friends and they are willing to listen to what you have to say far more than others.
All of these factors make the actual evangelizing far less stressful and much more doable, both short and long term. And that’s important because we have no idea when a soul is going to take that leap of faith.
3. God Knows Who Is The Best Fit
Now here is something interesting. In my own life, I have constantly been surprised by the type of person that God has used me to reach.
And it’s surprising because, more often than not, these are people that I have nothing in common with.
We are not similar ages, and we do not share similar experiences. We may not always have the same interests, and we may not have the same struggles, but somehow, like a puzzle that presents us with oddly shaped and irregular pieces, everything still fits.
And that is something that only God can do.
This is why we need to ask God who it is that we need to spend our time evangelizing.
He sees the big picture and He knows the human heart. He knows what we can handle, and He knows precisely who it is in your life that is closest to returning to Him if you would just participate.
So continue praying for and evangelizing those closest to your heart, absolutely! But don’t forget about the person that God is pointing out. After all, he is pairing you two up for a reason.