Saturday, 1 February 2014

Evangelization and a Cup of Coffee

Often times, we think that evangelization, is harder and more complicated than it actually is. We think that in order to speak about Jesus, we have to read thousands of books have all the answers and be a little bit pushy. When thinking about evangelizing that way, it’s easy to assume that we should just leave that task to the professionals. However, speaking about our faith should be something we do each and every day. It’s putting yourself in situations where people will respond and ask questions about your way of life.

For example, I work in an office with mostly Russians who are Jewish, but do not practice their faith. They do not know much about Christianity or Catholicism so it’s very rare that I will forcefully “preach the gospel” to them. It’s just not my style and I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable at work. But just because I’m not in their faces saying “Repent! Repent!”, it does not mean that I’m not doing my part as a Christian.

Every day, I do simple things and wait patiently for them to respond. I started by decorating my cubicle with a rosary and prayer cards. Little by little, my coworkers started asking me about them. I would then explain what a rosary is, how Catholics use them and tell the stories of the saints portrayed on my prayer cards. I also wear a miraculous medal around my neck every day. Most people are not familiar with it and will ask me what the medal means. I’m also very open about my weekend plans. When people ask me what I did during the weekend, I usually start by saying I went to church on Sunday or if I took part in a parish event I’ll mention that as well. During my wedding planning, I also used to talk about my marriage preparation classes which generated A LOT of questions.

I never thought of these little things as evangelization. I just did them automatically because my faith is such a huge part of my life. However one morning, as I was making myself a cup of coffee in the office break room, one of my coworkers asked me what it said on my cup. “Live by faith, Galatians 2:20” He asked me what is Galatians and I explained to him that it was a book in the New Testament. As he walked away, I could tell he was intrigued. I don’t know if he will research it, but just the fact that he was thinking about it was good enough for me. At that moment, it dawned on me that I had just evangelized with a cup of coffee.

I don’t think it’s necessary that all of us go out into the streets with flyers to preach the gospel. That may work with some, but for others, it may just turn them off Christianity completely. I think the best form of evangelization is really letting Christ shine through you in your day to day life. I believe that people really do see that in me and once they see my joy they want to be part of it as well. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16”

So the next time someone talks about evangelization, don’t brush it off as something that can only be done by professionals. Let God shine through and evangelize with your own cup of coffee.

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