Simplify! I'm not one for detailed plans, complicated procedures or more than 10 steps of anything. So I'm always looking for ways to make things more simple. This past week, in studying Psalm 34, King David helped me greatly in this pursuit by showing me that evangelism and fellowship aren't two different activities of the Christian life, but one and the same. Let me explain.
In Psalm 34, David is reflecting on one of those times in his life where he barely escaped with his life intact. Warned by Jonathan, he flees from Saul, turning first to Ahimelech the priest for sustenance and then escaping from the King of Gath by putting on his loony face and spitting on his beard for good measure. With that deliverance in his mind, David invites his people to "magnify the Lord with me, let us exalt his name together!" (v. 3)
So the Psalm is more than a private celebration of deliverance, it's a call from the king for his people to share in his own joy and praise. It's a song of fellowship: "I've been delivered! Rejoice with me! Let's rejoice together because these things are true for you as well!" What a wonderful model of Christian fellowship: inviting others to enjoy God's deliverance with you.
But the Psalm goes on to show that evangelism is not, categorically speaking, any different from fellowship. In fact, both Peter and the writer to the Hebrews use Psalm 34:8 as a wonderful evangelistic call: "Taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" If the heart of Christian fellowship is the sharing of a joyful faith, then evangelism is the same exact thing. The only thing that changes between evangelism and fellowship is the people we're with, not what we do.
David's joy of salvation is contagious in this gleeful Psalm. It's so potent that he just can't keep it inside, he has to share it with his countrymen, with everyone he knows. So to those who can identify with our joy, we say "Let's magnify God together! Isn't God's grace wonderful!" And to those who can't yet identify with our joy, we say "Let me tell of God's grace so we can magnify God together!"
Perhaps it's a tad simplistic, but simple can be good. Evangelism and fellowship are, at their core, the sharing of a joyful faith. Don't overthink it. Be joyful and invite others into your joy!