One night my son Elijah and I were eating a local restaurant. As the waitress approached us I noticed her nametag, smiled and said, “Hello Sarah!”
Stunned, she retorted, “Thank you! You’re the first customer that’s uttered my name all day!”
I can assure you that there was a time in my life that I wouldn’t acknowledge people by name in the marketplace if they had a nametag. But in recent years the Lord impressed upon me that if someone is wearing a nametag, it may be affirming to their humanity by uttering their name.
A simple gesture, yet in Sarah’s case, impactful.
And you may wonder – nice story, but what does this have to do with evangelism?
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our Likeness’” (Genesis 1:26)
People are made in God’s image according to His likeness. Therefore people are of inestimable value, for every individual is made in God’s image. And because we’re all made in God’s image, people matter much to God and should matter much to us.
Affirming people as image bearers of the Creator is huge. Because in the eyes of many, people are just random chance accidents and essentially, as some would argue, simply animals. Yet for the Christian, our affirmation of people as image bearers can create a platform of authenticity, caring, and gospel proclamation.
Evangelism is not about ‘me and them’ – rather it’s about ‘us.’ Our shared humanity reveals our shared need. For our shared humanity reveals our shared brokenness – man’s image has been marred by man’s sin. And the consequence of our sin runs deep – “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
So all of us have an image problem, yet God desires to restore man’s image as it was for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden prior to the fall – perfect.
God’s salvation provided in the person and work of Jesus is the means of forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration. In fact, for those of us who know Christ, we have not only been reconciled to God through faith in Him, we have also been given the ministry of reconciliation to those who’ve not yet been redeemed by Him – “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
As we desire for others to be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus, let us take advantage of simple opportunities to connect with others by affirming their humanity.