Have you ever been dogged by someone that was excited about their faith? I was in the New York City area a while back when I got off a subway overpass in Queens to the sound of some Spanish preaching Pentecostals who were taking turns preaching (yelling loudly more accurately) into a bullhorn. As one finished his turn he turned the mic over to the next with a high five and a chuckle. Those guys were having a good time at what they were doing, but clearly they were not connecting with the crowd.
My ears were nearly bleeding! The crowd was trying to ignore them and everyone wished they would unplug themselves and go home. They were overly aggressive and not connecting with the passing crowds. I believe God will use any approach to sharing the Gospel we make available to him, but some approaches are awfully difficult for him to use!
Just below there another church was doing an outreach based on serving. They were washing cars, trucks – even a huge metro garbage truck pulled up to test the sincerity of the team’s faith! (Yes, they passed the test and made it spick and span!) This was a study in contrasts. The group below the overpass was attracting a crowd, bit by bit, little by little, and making an impact one person at a time with no sound reinforcement other than to say, “We are showing Jesus’ love in a practical way…” (There were plenty of conversations that followed those introductory words.)
Before I became a Believer I met an occasional person who was downright excited about Christ – not many of them, but a few along the way. Those people got me thinking about the possibility of following Jesus. It began to occur to me that there was something out there that was worth giving my life for. Positive zeal is powerful and beautiful. Our zeal needs to be a lot like the oath doctors take upon graduation before they treat their first patient: “First, do no harm…!”