Ken Davis, a Christian comedian, tells a humorous story of a Christian who gets on an empty city bus, walks to the rear, and sits down. Lord, he prays, if you want me to speak to someone about you, please give me a sign. At the next stop another passenger gets on, goes all the way to the back and sits right down next to the Christian. “Do you know anything about Jesus?” the passenger asks. The Christian excuses himself for a moment and slowly bows his head once again and prays, Lord, if you really want me to talk to this stranger, I need just one more sign. Please turn the bus driver into an armadillo.
Have you been praying for armadillos?
My wife has a very good friend, who is a fearless evangelist. She sensitively, but passionately tells taxi drivers and wait staff – everyone about Jesus, or asks how she can pray for them. In Jesus words, she sees fields “ripe for harvest” all around her.
So, here’s the question; should all Christians be like that?
Here’s my short answer – not necessarily. Evangelist or witness?
The Bible is clear that some believers are given the spiritual gift of evangelism. “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,” (Ephesians 4:11). That gift enables someone to present the gospel clearly to others, to great effect. Non-believers come to faith quickly and respond in numbers that even serious followers of Jesus do not often see. That’s because the gift of evangelism is a supernatural gift that gives some Christians, not only a desire to share the gospel, but boldness, passion and spiritual discernment to know just what to say to bring people to faith.
However, I’ve only known a few dozen men and women with that gift, personally. Jesus even said, some are called to reap and others to sow (John 4:35-38).
Sowers But, at very least the rest of us are called to be sowers, or witnesses. Every Christian is expected to be a witness. A witness in court simply tells what they observed – what their personal experience has been, and then answers people’s questions.
I find it ironic that grown men who can talk to the guys at work passionately about sports, cars or deer hunting, are suddenly tongue-tied when it comes to talking about Jesus or the Christian life. However, rather than try to guilt Christians into witnessing, I prefer to ask them, why? Why is it they do not have the same passion for telling others about the good news of God that they have for sports? I believe that the failure to talk about Jesus to others is most likely due to one or more of the following:
Why most Christians do not witness
They’ve lost their first love In Revelations 3, Jesus says this about the “believers” in Laodicea: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”The reason many Christians don’t share their love for God with others, is because they’ve fallen out of love with him. They’re religious, but lukewarm in their love for God. If that’s true of you, that’s a much greater problem than simply not witnessing. Go to your pastor, or the most spiritual person you know and ask them to help you fall in love with Jesus again!
Fear Most Christians do not talk to others about how following Jesus has changed their life, due to fear. For some, it is a fear that either they or their message will be rejected. Others fear offending their friends; still others are afraid that if they begin those conversations, they will be asked questions they cannot answer. I’ve missed opportunities to witness myself for all of those reasons.
We’re not prepared If I got a new job selling anything, one of the first things I’d do is learn as much as I could about my product and how to present it to a potential customer in a way that makes them interested in buying. Please hear me, we don’t “sell” Jesus. But if talking to someone about your Savior and Lord doesn’t come easy to you, then be intentional about learning how to do that.
There is a certain skill to being an effective witness. It involves prayer, study, preparation and calling on the Holy Spirit for courage and wisdom. It rarely comes naturally to the average Christian, because it’s generally not part of our Christian culture. Many Christians believe they can have a “private faith.” The Bible knows nothing of that kind of faith. So here are my suggestions:
Pray for the name of someone you know, who is a bold witness and ask them to show you how to do the same.
Find a ministry that can inspire and train you to be an effective witness. Alpha (www.alpha.org), Navigators (www.navigators.org), Cru (the old Campus Crusade – www.cru.org), Christian Women’s Club.
Begin praying for Holy Spirit boldness to lose your fear of rejection. This is a perfect time to put the “10 Second Rule” into play.
Start a 10 Most Wanted list – these are 10 people in your life who do not yet follow Jesus. Begin praying for them daily.
A Final Thought Take a minute and try to remember the last time you shared your love for Jesus with a co-worker or neighbor. If it’s been awhile – ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you, why?
How following Jesus works in real life.
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