Since we are focusing on evangelism right now, I must share with you a time when I awkwardly took a step of faith on my road toward becoming a fisher of men. I share this to encourage any of you who sense a bit of fear or nervousness about talking about Jesus with someone who isn’t a Christian.
The instance I’m referring to was when I was in college and was challenged by a mentor (Bert Tippett) to take a step in becoming more willing to talk about the Lord. He suggested I simply tell someone I didn’t know that I was a Christian. That’s it. I accepted the challenge and knew he would ask me about it one week later when we were to meet again.
Six days went by and I had not yet told anyone I was a Christian that did not know it already. The pressure was mounting a bit and I knew the next day Mr. Tippett would ask me. So when I saw a hitch-hiker at the end of Bush Rd. where I worked, I knew this was my opportunity. (Bush Rd. was a nearly deserted industrial road with only two small businesses on it.)
The man and I made small talk as he guided me to his location. I was racking my brain trying to figure out how to bring up my faith without sounding awkward, but to no avail. We arrived at his house and he opened the door and got out. Just as he was about to close the door I leaned over and almost yelled, “Oh, by the way I’m a Christian!” He paused, looked at me funny, and said, “Ssso am I?”
Well, Billy Graham would be proud of that for sure! *eye roll*
I don’t know that my words did much of anything for that man’s soul. But they sure did something in defeating my fear. I grew a foot in boldness that day because after I got it out in the open and took that step, I realized it wasn’t really that scary to talk to someone about my faith. I also realized (and this might be the most important lesson) looking silly in order to take a step of faith was worth it.
There’s a lie the devil sometimes uses when we consider sharing the gospel with someone: “talking to them about Jesus won’t be worth the ridicule you face.” Dear friends, that’s a lie. It is worth any kind of suffering it might result in. We are “blessed” when we are insulted because of Christ (1 Peter 4:14).
Often we hesitate to talk about Jesus because we’re afraid of what others might think, say, or do to us. That is a real possibility. But if we honor Christ when sharing, any kind of negative response we receive will actually be a blessing. So let’s look at it this way: if the person we’re sharing with is receptive to the message, we will rejoice. And if the person rejects the message and rejects us, we will be blessed. Therefore, sharing the gospel is a win-win situation.