The other night I had a dream. For most people that isn't a big deal, but I don't dream often. When I do, someone usually is dying violently or some other nightmarish thing happens. This dream was different, though.
It started with me outside playing basketball with some of my Impacters (the students at Impact). After a really sweet shot (dream-me has skills) I noticed that the building we were next to was on fire. It was just a small billow of smoke, but I knew I had to get people out before the fire grew. I left the game and ran into the building. I stepped into a room that looked like a lecture hall. I started telling everyone in the room that the building was on fire and they had to get out and save themselves. Some people immediately got up and left the same way I came in. Others remained seated. I started singling people out; "I need you to understand. If you don't leave now you're going to die!" Their responses varied. Some listened and left. Others argued, "I don't see a fire, so why should I leave?" Still others complained, "But I'm comfortable where I am. I don't want to leave." Each time someone ignored my warnings I became more and more upset. I wasn't angry, I was distraught. "But if you don't come with me, you will die! How can you just sit there?" I just didn't understand. There was an immediate danger and I was warning them. Why didn't they listen?
At this point I woke up for work. But I couldn't get the dream out of my head. When a dream sticks with me like that I tend to ask God if there is something I should be learning from it. What did that dream mean? When I asked this time, God reminded me of what we had discussed this week at the Gathering (our High School youth group). We were talking about loving the lost (aka people who don't know Jesus). One of the students said that he worried he doesn't really love his friends because he doesn't tell them about Jesus. That struck me. How many people do I know and not really love because I don't warn them? At the same time, I don't want people to "convert" out of fear. I'm not a turn-or-burn Christian. I believe we were created for so much more than a faith from fear.
I have never considered myself much of an evangelist. It makes me uncomfortable to just randomly talk to people about Jesus. If someone asks me about him I am more than happy to answer questions or give them the run down. But I have a hard time just putting myself out there. Maybe that's the point of the dream. I'm going to be rejected sometimes. That's not the point. Instead of letting my fear of failure stop me from trying I should remember those who left the first time I warned them.
Plus, in the end I'm only responsible for being obedient and faithful. I can't change anyone's heart, only God can do that. I can just tell them about him and live in a way that makes his existence undeniable. I can love the people around me out of his love instead of my own. And I can pray.
So that's what I will do. I'm going to love people and pray that God open their hearts to him.
"Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well." -1 Thessalonians 2:8