Even Use Words If Necessary

The following is my latest attempt to try to understand the concept of evangelism. My thoughts took the shape of a poem dedicated to a close Nicaraguan friend who recently made me reflect more closely on the subject. I begin and end with a quote from Saint Francis of Assisi:

Preach the word of God wherever you go, even use words, if necessary.

***

You invited me to evangelize with you on Fridays at 7,
to go out and have a soda with the kids on the street corners
and tell them about Jesus.
I stammered and stuttered and tried to respectfully decline,
feebly attempting to explain my uncertain views on the subject.
But what I really meant to say was,
you don’t realize that you’ve been evangelizing to me
since the beginning.

***

Your sister was a prostitute and addicted to drugs,
and you and your wife as newlyweds
adopted her new born daughter,
now she is a delightful, happy, and healthy child.

***

Your uncle was a recovering alcoholic,
when his house flooded and he lost his job,
you strung a sheet across the corner of the living room,
in your already crowded house you made a place for him.

***

You are an elementary school teacher,
and make less than I do as an MCC volunteer,
yet when you uncle fell back into drinking
you did not kick him out.
You kept on loving him.
And when the alcohol finally claimed his life
you were there,
Organizing everything for his wake and burial.

***

Then there’s the old woman who washes laundry,
And again you, having little extra,
give her work washing your clothes
because you know she needs the money.

***

So here I am now,
wanting to change my answer,
to say yes.

***

Yes I want to evangelize with you,
but please not only on Fridays at 7,
but always in everything I do.
Loving as you have showed me how to love.

***

Preach the word of God wherever you go, even use words, if necessary.

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6 Comments on “Even Use Words If Necessary”

  1. Jeanette Bueno Says:

    As long as you keep writing, I’ll keep reading your inspirations. Thanks , Adam.

  2. Alan & Beth Says:

    Wow, this is extremely powerful. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Steve Ressler Says:

    Wow! Absolutely beautiful & powerful at the same time…Adam, thank you for this…you & Marisa are truely an inspiration to us all…
    Love, Your Uncle Steve

  4. wkshank Says:

    Loved your descriptive poem! It makes me want to know this man.

    I think I’ve read that this quote was probably not really St. Francis’ (it was attributed to him centuries later but does not appear in any of his writings), but it is thought provoking: Yes indeed, actions and words go hand in hand; our preaching had better be backed up with compassionate, holy living, and may I say, vice versa! St. Francis of Assisi himself was quite a preacher, using lots of words since that’s what evangelists do: they tell the euangelion — the good message.

    I hope you’ll give us an update from the streets with this man. Do not miss the opportunity to join him on Fridays at 7! Feed the stomach with bread, and feed the soul with every word which proceeds from the mouth of God. People are starving for both!

  5. wkshank Says:

    This is so typical! Look what came just the morning after those thoughts. Hope this encourages what you were already writing about! Henri Nouwen on living AND telling the gospel


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