What Is Your Gospel Footprint?
What’s your carbon footprint? What’s your slavery footprint? While these are fine questions to ask, let me ask a more important question…What is your gospel footprint?
Please understand I’m not being dismissive of the first two questions. I believe we are to be good stewards of God’s creation (Gen. 2:15). I believe that slavery is a blight upon humanity and I’m proud of the fact that Christians, such as William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln have often led the way in its abolishment. It’s not that I find these questions unimportant, it’s that I find the question of one’s gospel footprint more important.
The gospel is of first importance (1 Cor. 15:3-4), and the other issues flow from it, as our hearts are changed by it. As D.A. Carson says: “The kingdom of God advances by the power of the Spirit through the ministry of the Word. Not for a moment does that mitigate the importance of good deeds and understanding the social entailments of the gospel, but they are entailments of the gospel. It is the gospel that is preached.” (In Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus).
So what does a gospel footprint look like?
I believe the book of Philippians gives us a good answer to that question. In it the apostle Paul states, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Phil. 1:3-5, ESV)
Your gospel footprint is the extent of your partnership in gospel missions worldwide.
Paul goes on to commend the Saints in Philippi for their prayers (Phil. 1:19), their practical help (Phil. 2:25), and their plentiful gifts (Phil. 4:18). These are some of the ways we can partner with other believers for the sake of the gospel.
So which gospel missions do I pray for, help, and give to?
It’s a question I began asking myself several years ago. I started to look at how my family was being intentional about partnering with people for the sake of the gospel, both at home and worldwide. As a family we took a world map and put boot print stickers on it in the places we were partnering with gospel missionaries. We regularly read letters from the missionaries we support and pray for them. We’ve also chosen a variety of different types of gospel missions, from those that focus on poverty to those that focus on proclamation.
A final thought: it’s sometimes easier to pray, send help, and give financial aid than to be directly involved in personally sharing the gospel with others. Partnering with others in the gospel is not a substitute for personal evangelism. Both are Scriptural.
So where, and in what ways, are you involved, both at home and around the world in sharing the Good News of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus?
What is your gospel footprint?
For the record…
I’ve used the word “gospel” numerous times in this blog. This sermon by Matt Chandler is a good explanation of what I mean by the “gospel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOhsAnTB2OA
I don’t have a snazzy website that calculates your gospel footprint. But those wanting to calculate their carbon footprint or slavery footprint, can do so here: