As the United States of America has wrestled to respond to a global pandemic, we have heard increasing comments about "government overreach" in our culture. Whether it's stay-at-home orders, facemask mandates, or bans on congregational singing, these accusations represent a potential threat to the liberties many Americans have enjoyed for years.
But permit me to lay aside the question on whether these or other measures represent government overreach and ask a different question. I was recently reading Elliot Clark's fantastic book Evangelism as Exiles, where he mentioned in passing that many of our Christian brothers and sisters live in countries where evangelism is banned. Whether or not you believe facemask mandates represent government overreach, I hope you'll agree with me that outlawing evangelism does.
And yet, as I meditated on the daily reality faced by many of my Christian extended family members across the world, I began to look in the mirror. I too, occasionally, find myself complaining (in my heart if not with my lips) about the various laws and restrictions Americans have faced.
That’s when it dawned on me. Which would be a greater personal inconvenience: laws against evangelism, or laws about facemasks? The truth is, if we’re honest, that for most of us (myself included) our lives would be far less disrupted by a law against evangelism. Perhaps for some of you, if our government made evangelism illegal it wouldn’t change anything about your life.
Brothers and sisters, these things ought not be. May God help us to focus on what matters. May God begin a revival in your heart and mine, so that our hearts are broken by what breaks His. And I assure you, He is far more concerned about whether or not you share the Gospel with your mouth than whether or not your mouth is covered by a facemask.