Love Your Neighboor

ErinTHE THOUGHT OF STANDING on a street corner preaching and proclaiming the Word of God causes feelings of uncertainty and anxiousness to swell up inside me. Upon entering the seminary, I had a sense of unworthiness as I wondered how I could ever be a pastor when I had thoughts such as these. As a fireman, I charged into a burning barn to save a stranger’s goat. Yet, I would hesitate to share the greatest message ever with that same stranger. A message that would save his eternal life.

After almost two years of study at the Free Lutheran Seminary, I now understand the root cause of my apprehension. It is my sinful and fallen nature—it is pride. I am more concerned about what I may lose than what my neighbor would gain. The Apostle Peter boldly and almost arrogantly stood before the Lord and declared, “I will lay down my life for you” (John 13:37). But when the time came for Peter to stand firm on those words, he folded and cowered in denial and fear. Thankfully, that is not how the story ends. Peter would later preach and proclaim the sweetness of the gospel, ultimately laying down his life proclaiming the glory of the Lord.

My classmates and I recently went on a field trip for our Evangelism and Discipleship class. This outing took us throughout the Twin Cities exploring the evangelical opportunities and challenges that are found there. The streets that we drove were littered with the perils, pitfalls, stumbling blocks, and false teachings of this world. While intermixed among all of these traps of the enemy were lost, precious, eternal souls who are in desperate need of the gospel. Through the lectures and discussions in the classes that followed, I was left thinking about intentionality.

As Christians, our greatest opportunities to evangelize happens as we live out the day-to-day activities of our lives. We read in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” We are to serve our neighbors in whatever vocation we are called. And may we do so to the glory of God! God’s Word is like a pebble in a shoe; no matter how much you try to ignore it, sooner or later it must be addressed. As evangelistic opportunities present themselves, how intentional are we at seizing an opportunity to put a pebble in a shoe? This is when discipleship becomes significant.

The command to make disciples comes from Christ Himself. It is not a suggestion, it is a directive. We need to be intentional about coming alongside our brothers and sisters, whether as individuals or groups, to spread, teach, and study His Word, and to pray, putting our faith into action. This is not a one-time event. It is a daily, ongoing process.

I am learning to see my neighbor in light of eternity. I can no longer love my neighbor by saying, “I will share the good news with them next time.” There may not be a “next time.” Therefore, I must “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks [me] for a reason for the hope that is in [me]; yet do it with gentleness and
respect” (I Peter 3:15).

Erin Tormanen [AFLTS middler] is a member of Good Shepherd Free Lutheran, Cokato, Minn.

This article first appeared in Kinship Magazine, Spring 2018 Edition.

Kinship is a magazine of the Free Lutheran Schools. Stay up to date on latest news, student stories, classroom highlights, and fun tidbits about life on the AFLBS and AFLTS campus.

View the latest edition of Kinship here:

Share this Post

Read more posts from