Do you think to yourself, if I could just start with something small and prove myself faithful?!? I have been praying recently that each day God would give me just one opportunity to share Christ with another person — even in the smallest, tiniest, faintest of ways, but to at least bring Him up or bring scripture into a conversation.
“A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in the little things is a great thing.” — Hudson Taylor
And I prayed that He would give me the words and be there in the conversation so that it would not be in my own strength and power. Just as the Lord encouraged Zerubbabel in the rebuilding of the temple (Zech. 4:6 ESV), so I have been asking the Lord that it all be fueled by Him:
“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit….”
This Makes Me Nervous…
You should know that I have never been a person who was the traditionally evangelistic type. By that I mean that I have not been at ease with sharing my faith. It’s a combination of not doing it regularly and having the type of personality and mind that converts things slowly. I call it being a slow processor. I need time to reflect. I don’t always have the immediate answer on the spot.
So I have asked God to help me overcome some of my personality and natural tendencies so that I can serve and glorify Him.
I want to share with you a few of the ways God answered my prayer so that you might be encouraged with your own forays into witnessing.
I met Gary, a 70 year old grandfather, while he was walking with his granddaughter (in a stroller). Heading down the sidewalk with my dogs, having walked a route I didn’t normally take, I moved aside on to the grass so he could go by. After all, he had wheels.
We struck up a conversation in that way that people do, seemingly out of nothing. Words about parents, the blessings of a good one, and his work were exchanged. The moment came when I simply said to him, “So it sounds like you know the Lord.” I assumed this because of some things he said. But it’s a good thing I asked because I found out the truth.
After his head went down a moment (strange response for someone who knows the Lord, I thought!) he explained that he held to a religious belief (I would rather not name it) that was based on meditation and “the light within.” Not at all bible-based. Also an emphasis on good works. That was my door.
“Could I ask you a question?” I said to him. “Do you believe that you are saved by your good works?”
“Yes,” he answered.
“Hm, well, you might be interested in reading the book of Ephesians. It says, ‘By grace you were saved, by faith, and not by works, so no man can boast.” (Yes I realize that I missed the part about it being a gift of God; I was nervous)
By this time, he was practically running down the street away from me. Interesting what effect the word of God has.
Hard to guess how old Lee is, but I’d say anywhere from 60 to 65. He’s had his share of tragedy (loss of a son, health and death scares). This is the first thing I remarked on during our half hour of conversation outside my condo (started thanks to my burgeoning evangelist dog, Kacie, who greets everyone as her long-lost friend). I said to him, “Sounds like you have had a lot of grace in your life.” Testing the waters, I guess.
In the course of me mostly listening to him (which I had to pray for patience because it went so long and I get overloaded easily), he mentioned that he was “not religious, but was spiritual” and “believed in prayer and miracles.” Later of course, I thought of all the things I could have said, like prayer requires an object, miracles indicate the existence of something outside of nature (i.e., the divine), and the question, what does it mean to be “spiritual”? Oh well.
What I did say at the end of the chat was something along the lines of, “Well, Lee, when I talk to God, I will ask Him to show you that you need a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.” That was awkward! It didn’t fit anywhere in the conversation, but I thought, well, I don’t care. I may never see this guy again and the time is now.
The result was another view of someone’s back as they tried to run away. Not from me, though….
So What’s Your Point, Jennifer?
My points are these:
- God does hear a prayer like I made that indicates a willing, obedient heart (I am not, however, implying that God answers this prayer every time I make it. After all, He is still God and knows better than I the timing and circumstances!).
- God does know when you honestly want to act and speak in ways that honor and glorify Him.
- Use God’s word whenever possible. Evangelist Greg Laurie said this about scripture, “even if the person does not believe in the bible, it is like going into battle with swords and the other person says, ‘I don’t believe you actually have a sword; that’s your truth.’ Well, poke him with it and see what happens.”
- Even a person who does not consider themselves an evangelist in the sense of having quick or right answers can be an instrument of His grace and a seed planter.
- You do not know the impact you can have on someone by some small, simple effort. You may never see that impact until later. But trust God for the results. Do not judge by the world’s standards of success.