“We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you.” (Acts 13:32)

Do you recognize this story? Most likely, you do. In these few verses, through his account of St. Paul’s preaching, Luke has penned the heart of the gospel message. He managed to cram years of Jesus’ ministry into a few short sentenc­es—along with a backdrop, a plot, and a climax!

Let’s see… . Jesus came to the people he and his Father created, but we didn’t recognize him. And though he was an innocent man, we condemned him to die a crimi­nal’s death. He was crucified and buried in a tomb. But God raised him up from the dead to be the fulfillment of his promises and the answer to our prayers. That’s the “word of salvation” (Acts 13:26), or the gospel, in a nutshell.

It’s pretty simple. In fact, it’s easy enough that probably anyone could tell this story. And that’s exactly the point. We can all be witnesses to this joyfully simple plan of redemp­tion. We can all respond to the call to evangelize. But sometimes it can feel pretty hard to get those words out of our mouth, even when the perfect opportunity presents itself. Why is that?

Maybe one of the most common reasons is that we doubt our effec­tiveness. We may doubt whether we can make the gospel attractive enough or persuasive enough to convince someone to receive it. We may get so worked up with doubt, in fact, that we don’t say anything at all! But the soul-tugging power of the gospel is actually not really in our hands. It is more in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Yes, we need to share the truth as we have come to know it, but it’s God himself who draws the person we are sharing with. Above all else, it is a work of God’s grace that moves a person to open his or her heart to the Lord. It’s the Spirit of God who drives the point home, not our eloquent words. And that’s a huge relief!

So always remember that you don’t have to be a theologian or a priest or a nun to share the gospel. All you have to be is open and avail­able, ready to leave the heavy lifting to God.

“Lord, fill me so full of your love that I overflow with the good news of the gospel.”

Psalm 2:6-11; John 14:1-6