Sunday, January 20, 2013

Beware of Cowardice in Evangelism

"There are few of our Lord's instructions which it is so difficult to use rightly as this.  There is a line marked out for us between two extremes; but one that it requires great judgement to define.  To avoid persecution by holding our tongues, and keeping our religion entirely to ourselves, is one extreme.  We are not to err in that direction.  To court persecution, and thrust our religion upon everyone we meet, without regard to place, time, or circumstances, is another extreme.  In this direction also we are warned not to err any more than in the other.  Truly we may say, "Who is sufficient for these things?"  We have need to cry to the cry to the only wise God for wisdom.

The extreme into which most men are liable to fall in the present day, is that of silence, cowardice, and letting others alone.  Our so-called prudence is apt to degenerate into a compromising line of conduct, of downright unfaithfulness.  We are only too ready to suppose that it is of no use trying to do good to certain people.  We excuse ourselves from efforts to benefit their souls, by saying it would be indiscreet, or inexpedient, or would give needless offense, or would even do positive harm.  Let us all watch and be on our guard against this spirit.  Laziness and the devil are often the true explanation of it.  To give way to it is pleasant to flesh and blood, no doubt, and saves us much trouble.  But those who give way to it often throw away great opportunities of usefulness."

- Adapted from J. C. Ryle's "Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Matthew"