I had a professor last year, Dr. Bob Stein, who is particularly adamant that his students wear bike helmets when cycling. He will unashamedly demand that any student he sees riding their bike without a helmet get off and walk. I’ve seen him do it and I’ve seen the poor Poli Sci student hop off and saunter. Dr. Stein will rave about this subject for hours. He, of course, always faithfully wears his helmet as a cyclist himself, especially after he was recently hospitalized in a cycling accident which cracked his helmet, instead of his skull. Appropriately, he calls himself an “evangelist” for bike helmets.
When he said those words, it gave me pause and made me think about my own practice of evangelism with respect to, of course, the Gospel. So I began to think of the reasons why Dr. Stein might preach, and why I don’t as often:
1. He knows the danger. He is keenly aware of the consequences of people not wearing helmets, and earnestly believes them. How strongly do I believe in the consequences of rejecting the Gospel?
2. He knows the efficacy of the solution. He knows for a fact that helmets will prevent injury, and even death. How strongly do I believe in the efficacy of the Gospel in saving us both in this life and the next? How earnestly do I believe in its power?
3. He’s experienced its salvation. His life has been changed, and indeed still is, because he followed his gospel. Do I really know that I’ve been saved, and what I’ve been saved from? Have I really foreseen my alternate past, present, and future if it were not touched by blood of Christ?
4. He believes that his message can change people. He’s seen people change their ways because of his preaching, and he believes people will change their ways in the future. How honestly do I believe in the power of the Gospel to change people? To be honest, many times I don’t, and when it happens, I’m struck in disbelief. I remember conducting beach evangelism on Panama City Beach, FL, last Spring Break, and my friends and I, after a long day of talking and preaching, thinking to ourselves “this can’t quite possibly work,” only to be confronted with testimonies of 50 or so people telling of how they shared the Gospel and people were changed to the core.
5. The cost to those he cares about is too great for embarassment or annoyance to stop him. I know many of his students start to get pretty annoyed after hearing him talk about it for the 10th time (myself included), but it doesn’t matter, because his concern for his students is worth the embarrassment. Is it the same attitude towards embarrassment for me and the Gospel? Sometimes (most of the time), no. Also, do I truly care for those who I should share with?
A phrase that Paul likes to use in his epistles is “how much more!” If Dr. Bob Stein can unabashedly preach the bike-helmet gospel, how much more should I preach the Gospel of Christ!