In the small group I attend we’ve been talking about taking risks for God’s kingdom, seizing opportunities, and overcoming fear. I’ve been intentional in applying these challenges to evangelism. Sharing your faith can often feel like a risk or a fearful encounter. Sometimes that risk or fear can paralyze us from taking a gift wrapped opportunity to share our faith. So two weeks ago I challenged everyone in our group to intentionally look for opportunities to show Christ’s love and take them! Monday night was my moment of truth.
Lauren and I had been working on Nathan’s room and were almost finished. We made the mistake of only buying one curtain at Target (we assumed we were getting two based on the price!), and it was bugging me. I’m a task oriented person. When I set out to finish something, I finish it. So at 8:30 pm I headed back out to Target to pick up the curtain, as well as a few other forgotten things. One of the items wasn’t at Target, so I decided to go to Walmart. When I walked in the door I saw an older gentleman sitting in a chair, holding his cane. He was a Walmart greeter. It was late, and there were very few people at the store. As soon as I looked at him and took notice of the calm surroundings I knew, this is an opportunity. What’s more, I was certain God wanted me to speak to him. It looked as if all the things surrounding my return trip to Target–only buying one curtain, my task oriented nature, and even Target’s lack of one item that sent me to Walmart–were coming together in some plan God had.
I decided to do my shopping and talk to the man on the way out. When I left the register I turned to look for him, but he was gone! My first thought was, ‘you lost your opportunity.’ Thankfully, at that moment I saw him slowly walking with his cane back to his greeting chair. I caught up with him and started up a conversation. Now I don’t have a patented way to share the gospel. You know, a special system of sharing Jesus using an acrostic or something similar. I’m not saying they’re bad, I just don’t use them. I know the life changing message of the gospel and I simply look for Spirit guided opportunities to share Christ’s message. During our conversation I was convinced that God wanted me to look at him and simply say, “Jesus loves you.” So I took a deep breath, looked the man in the eyes and told him, “I believe God wants me to tell that Jesus loves you.”
You’ll never believe what happened next! The man picked up his head, turned slowly, looked at me like I was crazy, and said, “Oh, o.k.” He quickly turned and moved away from me. And that was it.
Is that how you were expecting the story to end? Most of the time when believers share evangelism stories they end with a miraculous story of conversion. I’ve had those ‘miraculous experiences’ before, but the outcome in this story is the one I experience most often. The point I want to make is that both are success. When you see an opportunity to talk about Jesus and you take it, you’ve succeeded. You’ve been faithful. You opened your mouth and spoke about Jesus because you are convinced that the message of Jesus is the greatest thing in the universe. That’s all God is asking of us. To live like we believe He is the best, like his gospel is the most important, compelling message in the universe. I pray you have evangelistic success this week! I also pray someone who hears you talk about Jesus will believe! But the latter won’t happen unless you and I are faithful to take every opportunity to speak and live the gospel.