Oh to Have an Evangelist’s Heart!

Posted on October 7, 2021

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By David Ettinger

Wanting More
Back when I was married, I was a journalist and my wife a teacher. Because we had two incomes, we lived in a nice, 4-bedroom house.

However, following my divorce at age 28 and a return to one income, I could no longer afford a house. For the past 35 years it’s been 1- and 2-bedroom apartments for me.

This by no means is a complaint as here in the U.S. apartments are quite nice, and I always made enough of an income to afford a nice one. And I have always been grateful for my residences. I have been to such destitute countries as Haiti and Mali (West Africa), and have seen firsthand what poverty is.

Therefore, whenever I thank God for His provision, I always praise Him for the mansions He has put me in. Comparatively speaking, my apartments have been exactly that when measured against how others in the world live – and they have been more than enough to meet my needs.

Yet, there is still a piece of me that wishes I had a nice, small home to live in – though I live alone. I see such abodes during my frequent walks, or whenever I visit my son’s house – a beautiful home nestled in a beautiful community.

It’s not that I’m ungrateful for what God has given me, but I sometimes find myself wishing for just a little bit more. And I’m not good with that.

The Right Attitude
I’m especially not good with that when I read certain Bible passages – passages that remind me of where my thoughts should be, what my desires should look like, how I should conduct myself, and what my attitude should be conformed to.

In short, what my attitude should be conformed to is that of the evangelist. My attitude should be shaping my thoughts, will, and desires to that of the evangelist – of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost and dying world no matter the consequences.

What does such an attitude look like? The apostle Paul summed it up well in 1 Corinthians 4:11-13, when recounting the suffering he and his fellow evangelists were enduring:

Up to this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed and roughly treated and homeless; and we labor, working with our own hands; when we are verbally abused, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we reply as friends; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

An Evangelist’s Heart
I’m not saying all believers have to experience these kinds of upheavals. In fact, God doesn’t expect us to – unless, of course, He has called us to do just that. And, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there is anything wrong in having a nice home – not even close. Most strong and godly believers I know live in nice homes.

I acknowledge that God has given me everything I need in life. Unlike Paul, I am not hungry and thirsty. I am not poorly clothed, treated roughly, or homeless. I am not verbally abused and persecuted. And, in general, I am not slandered nor regarded as scum and the dreg of society.

That I am not any of these things may speak to the fact I’m not much of an evangelist. If I were more of an evangelist – if I had the true heart of an evangelist – I would not desire a house over my beautiful – and rather spacious – 1-bedroom apartment.

If I had the heart of an evangelist, I would not necessarily seek the abuse Paul describes above, but I would gladly accept it should it come my way for preaching the Gospel. But I am conflicted. I’ve lived too long with my feet planted solidly in this materialistic world. If I truly had the heart of an evangelist, I would not be seeking my own creature comforts; I would instead be seeking at least a little of that rough treatment and abuse Paul spoke of.

I pray God would grant me the heart of an evangelist that my desires would be in line with His desires, and not my own!