The other day I had what I like to call a Missional Fail. I was walking out to my car after picking up some groceries. A lady came up me and asked for help. Her car ran out of gas. She was about a mile from a relatives house. She needed a ride and some money. I gave her a ride, 5 bucks, and no gospel.
Here is why I call this a fail. I knew I would likely never see this lady again. I knew from our brief conversation that she wasn’t a believer. Also, I felt the Spirit pushing me to tell her. But I ignored. Instead, I told myself, “I’m helping her enough with a ride and some cash. Plus, I’m tired and need to get home to my family.” That translates into, “I care more about myself than this person’s soul.”
All of us fail when it comes to mission. Maybe you rushed into your house when you got home from work because you didn’t want to talk to your neighbor outside. Maybe you haven’t met your neighbors. You may have blown an opportunity with a stranger like I did. What do you do now?
1. Repent and cling to Jesus
The Christian Life is one of continual repentance. Why? Because we are still sinners. Don’t let the guilt of your failure paralyze you from future obedience to Jesus. After Paul speaks of the ongoing struggle between flesh and spirit in Romans 7, what does he say?
‘Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ -Romans 7:25-8:1
When you think about your missional failure, ask yourself how you are doing in the area of mission as a whole. When I did this, I realized that my problem wasn’t just that I was too selfish to share the gospel with one lady, it was that I was neglecting God’s mission in other areas of my life as well.
Think about where God has you in your life; workplace, neighborhood, school, etc. How are you living the gospel intentionally in these contexts? If the answer is ‘no’ then why is that?
We should dig for the sin beneath the sin. While my sin was withholding the good news of Christ from this lady, it went way deeper. I didn’t want my personal comfort to be tampered with. I didn’t want to offend her and think less of me. I valued her approval more than God’s. I valued earthly comfort more than obedience to Christ.
Read your Bible– Read it to be reminded of Christ’s forgiveness of your failures. Read Acts to see how the early church lived on mission. Read the Gospels to see how Jesus evangelized. Read the WHOLE THING to see God’s heart for mission.
Resources– While the Bible is the ‘how to’ book on evangelism and missional living, there are an endless amount of other helps in these areas. Read a book like The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever. Or go through a study like Ed Stetzer’s Sent.
Pray– Ask God to give you boldness the next time you have an opportunity. Ask him to give you a desire for his mission that demolishes your desire for personal comfort. Ask him to open the hearts of your lost neighbors, coworkers, friends, classmates, etc.
I’d love to hear other advice for dealing with a Missional Fail.