Sharing The Sunset
Let’s just be honest, “evangelism” is easily the dirtiest word in the English language. It’s right up there with “pyramid scheme” and “imitation crab”. The distaste for this word comes from an often associated arrogance. As evangelists, we assume we have something the other needs. We assume the other’s life is meaningless. We assume the other’s belief is wrong. Inevitably, the other ends up feeling discredited, manipulated, or force fed by these assumption. As they walk away, we’re left wondering what went wrong or worse we pat ourselves on the back for getting through our rehearsed speech before they left.
Tony Kriz told me once, “Evangelism should look less like sharing a piece of cake and more like sharing a sunset.” I think there is a lot of truth to that. The piece of cake evangelism is full of assumptions. We assume the other is hungry, we assume they aren’t allergic to chocolate, we assume they trust I haven’t laced the cake with rat poisoning. Well, you get the point. It’s all about me and what I’m offering.
Sharing a sunset looks different. I may know some interesting facts about the sunset. For instance, the molecules and small particles change light rays causing them to scatter, and producing color. However, that’s not really the point, is it?
The point is sunsets are beautiful. And it’s wonderful to share that moment with a friend.
Evangelism looks more whimsical, joyful, and free as we both stand in awe of someone truly spectacular. The focus isn’t on me and my “right” answers because we are both captivated by someone far more interesting. I have nothing to offer except my encouraging adoration.
“Yes, He really is that good!”
“Yes, He actually does forgive!”
“Yes, He does love you and I!”
Perhaps this is what the Psalmist was getting at when he said, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”(1) Sharing the sunset evangelism simply points out that which is good, true, just, honorable, and lovely. It’s the ability to stop for a moment, and say, “Wow, that looks like Jesus! Isn’t that beautiful?
I officiated a wedding a few months ago and was sitting at the reception with my wife and friends. We were sipping wine, eating delicious food, and laughing as the music played and the couple danced. It was a divinely beautiful moment as we celebrated two friends becoming one. As I watched the couple dance together, I overheard a conversation my friend Josh(2) was having with someone. I could tell the conversation had turned spiritual and they were discussing something in the Bible. It was then that Josh just stopped and said, “This reminds me so much of heaven. Someday we’ll sip wine and celebrate and laugh and God will be there. Don’t you think heaven will be beautiful?”
The evangelistic conversation diffused and the other simply said with a smile, “Yes, heaven will be beautiful.” Their glasses clinked together in agreement as they sat and watched the sunset together.(3)
May our evangelism look more like this. May we be known more for our adoration than our answers. May we be marked more by our delight than the details. May we get out of the way, take a step back, and share the sunset with another.
- Psalm 34:8
- Josh and his family are moving to Hong Kong next month as missionaries. He’s been a dear friend and neighbor for years and although it’s hard to say goodbye, his move reminds me of Jesus and it’s awe-inspiring to watch. You can learn more about Josh here.
- This is an actual picture of that night. Beautiful huh.