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I will do what I can

I didn’t really expect to see Francis “Fran” Gavin and his wife, Joan, show up for the Everyone Outreach seminar. They hadn’t even registered for the event. Also Fran is 94 years old.

But I wasn’t too surprised to see them there. After all, I knew that Fran and Joan were passionate about sharing their faith. In fact, during the seminar, one of the men in attendance pointed to Fran and Joan and said, “They’re the reason I’m sitting here today.” And I had made more than one outreach visit to prospects whom Fran and Joan had invited to church.

But I had also made multiple hospital and sick visits to Fran and Joan. Fran still came to church every Sunday with a smile and a wisecrack, but sometimes he used a cane to assist his walking. Even more frustrating to him than his leg problems, though, are his memory challenges.

But there they were, sitting patiently through both days of an eight-hour evangelism seminar. Near the end of the event, the presenting pastor asked each of us to stand and share our most important “I will” statement, statements we worked on during the seminar that reflected how we would each try to do better in the area of evangelism.

We went around the room sharing our ideas. “I will start a new women’s fellowship group that I can invite my friends to.” “I will volunteer for outreach events.” Finally, it was Fran’s turn. I wondered what he would say. I knew his spirit was willing, but what would his 94-year-old body and mind allow him to commit to?

Fran struggled to his feet and read the statement from his commitment card: “I will do what I can.”

Of all of the statements read that day, it was Fran’s that stuck with me. “I will do what I can.” I thought of a line from the old mission hymn that I have sung since I was a child: “Let none hear you idly saying, ‘There is nothing I can do,’ while the souls of men are dying, and the Master calls for you” (The Lutheran Hymnal 496:4).

Some people in Fran’s situation might feel like they can’t do anything. Or they might use the line “I will do what I can” as an excuse for not doing anything at all. I know that isn’t true for Fran. There is so much he wants to do that he probably can’t—but he will still do what he can.

When it comes to evangelism, don’t be frustrated at what you can’t do; be thankful for what you can do—and then eagerly carry it out.

For many of us, “I will do what I can” looks quite a bit different than it does for Fran. For us, it is important to flesh out the “I will do what I can” with some specific goals and plans. But some of you may be in a situation much like Fran’s. Maybe you’re feeling frustrated about what you can’t do for the Lord. But there still are things you can do. You can pray for the success of the gospel and strength and courage for those who share it. You can let your light shine in your conversations, trusting Jesus’ promise that when you do that, more people will end up praising the Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

When it comes to evangelism, don’t be frustrated at what you can’t do; be thankful for what you can do—and then eagerly carry it out, for the sake of the One who did everything for you!

Author: David Wietzke
Volume 110, Number 06
Issue: June 2023

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This entry is part 6 of 36 in the series editorial-comment

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