Recently my oldest friend gave a talk where she pointed out that the word ‘evangelism’ has the word ‘angel’ in the middle of it. I’d honestly never noticed that.

It’s not accidental, because the verb to evangelise means to do what angels do.

We say, ‘be an angel and make me a cup of tea’. But there is scant Biblical evidence that angels make tea. More often, they’re the guests being waited on:

“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)

Principally, angels pass on messages for God.

They seem to have another role, too – to watch out for people and turn up when support is needed. Jesus seems to have been aware of this:

“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53)

Angel appearances have always been rare. They have a disadvantage as messengers: They are scary. They dazzle people and always have to begin their message by persuading the recipient not to be afraid, like some kind of heavenly GDPR notice:

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10)

I wonder whether since the Great Commission, God has adopted a policy of mostly using humans as ‘angels’ among humans.

This clearly has its own disadvantages. Humans are busy doing jobs and watching Netflix and they’re not always listening out for the messages God wants to pass on, or looking out for people who need immediate support.

I’m not, anyway.

But it might be easier to learn to be ready to be an angel, than to prepare myself to ‘do evangelism’.


Ruth Whiter

Ruth works at BMS World Mission and is also a freelance illustrator and live sketcher.