Do you look forward to seeing how you look in pictures? You say, "Well, uh...yes and no." There are always a couple of pictures you get back that you would like to look at again.
You think, 'Hey, I don't look too bad in that picture.' But there are also always a couple you would like to throw away before anyone else sees them. If you're a photographer, or if you know the photographer, you don't have to wait to see how you look in the final photos. For example, we knew our photographer pretty well at our wedding, so he gave us our wedding pictures in contact prints. My wife is also a photographer, so I asked, "Honey, how do those contact prints work?" She said, "You place the negative right up against the photographic paper, you shine a light on it, and the image transfers directly to the paper." There you are, beautiful or ugly, as the case may be. Now, if there is even a little distance between the negative and the paper, you see a fuzzy or distorted image. You cannot transfer the image unless there is close contact.
Ezekiel 3:11 of the Bible says, "Go now to your countrymen in exile and speak to them. Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says,' whether they listen or fail to listen." Ezekiel goes and prepares himself then verse 15 says, "I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days - overwhelmed." ( Ezekiel 3:15)
Ezekiel was just like us in that he had a message to deliver. Our message is about the cross where Christ died. Ezekiel prepared himself by sitting in the middle of the exiles, getting in touch with them, and allowing his heart to be overwhelmed with what was happening to them.
You cannot reach others if you don't know them. Much research shows that the first year after people become Christians, they know a lot of lost people from their old life. Five years into their Christian lives, they have virtually no contact with non-Christians. All the salt is in the saltshaker and all the light is blazing together in one corner, while most of the world is totally dark. We disappear into the Christian life and lose all our meaningful contact with people who have not heard the life-saving message of Jesus Christ.
Do you have a meaningful relationship with a non-Christian? Consider the contact print. The image will not transfer if there is no close contact. Evangelism is just a religious concept unless you are close to some lost people, transferring to them the image of Christ.
Take the time to get to know your neighbors or even your co-workers. Ask God to lay some of those people, by name, on your heart. Build some bridges to them and find ways to show them you care. Then, take the risk of reaching out to them. If you have to stay home from church to have them over for dinner, then do it.
The great missionary Amy Carmichael said, "We will have all eternity to celebrate our victories, but only a few short hours to win them." If you are too busy doing things for Jesus that you don't have time to get close to the people He died for, then you are too busy. You have a Savior, you have a heaven, and you have eternal life to transfer; you can't do it unless there is close contact. You cannot reach them if you don't touch them!