“We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:4
When was the last time you talked to a total stranger about your faith in Christ? Or invited an unbelieving friend to church? Or asked a non-Christian if you could pray with them or for them? Or simply ended a greeting card with a scripture?
I don’t ask that to shame or condemn you, but to encourage you to think about a very real problem in the Church today, a problem that stems, I believe, from either a lack of faith, or a fear of man. And in some cases, both.
I was going to include statistics gathered from LifeWay research on the topic of “Sharing Christ,” but the fact is, anything less than 100 percent when it comes to the amount of Christians sharing the Gospel is unacceptable. (Click the footnote reference for the exact numbers.)
The Great Commission is one of the most well-known passages in the New Testament, spoken by Jesus Himself:
“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” –Matthew 28:18-20, NLT (emphasis mine)
Did Jesus say that only His 12 disciples should go and baptize and preach? No. Did He say that we must go to seminary and earn our Masters of Divinity and then make disciples? No. Did He say we must first memorize every Pauline epistle? No. Did He say we must be an elder in the church or a Sunday School teacher? No. The only prerequisite to sharing your faith in Christ is simply to have it.
Other commands, like feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting the poor, are easier for most of us to follow (Matthew 25:35-37). Doing those activities doesn’t require us to necessarily speak about our faith, much less ask people if they’ve accepted Christ as Lord. And nowadays, thanks to online donations, we don’t even have to make eye contact with the people we’re giving to. And because we have missionaries in our churches, they can do all the visiting for us.
I’ve been convicted for some time about my fear of sharing Jesus with not just strangers, but friends and family as well. I can’t tell you how nervous I was, just after losing my dad and grandmother, to call another family member and ask him if he knew where he’d be spending eternity. I knew God was prompting me to do it, but a voice in my head kept shouting, “You’ll make him uncomfortable! He’s not ready to talk about it!” Fortunately, my spirit answered back: “No one is ever ready because Satan loves to keep us ‘un-ready!’ To be uncomfortable is fleeting. Eternity in hell is forever.”
Talking to him lifted a huge burden from my shoulders. He assured me he had a relationship with Jesus Christ, and I felt emboldened to speak to others about the most important decision we can ever make. The Holy Spirit reminded me that it isn’t up to me to try and convince or convert, but to simply plant seeds for Him alone to water, and to testify about a love He alone can offer.
Witnessing to strangers still does not come easy. While getting a pedicure recently, the nail tech asked about my ankle tattoo (a Messianic seal), and I had the pleasure to explain to her its meaning about Jews and Gentiles becoming one through the Messiah (Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 2:14). But that was the extent of it; I still did not ask her about her beliefs. Next time I go, I plan to.
Earlier this week, my mom shared with me a story that greatly inspired me. A friend of hers had just been by the house to visit and mentioned her ex brother-in-law who was dying in a nursing home not far away. My mom asked her friend if the man, David, knew the Lord, and she confessed she didn’t know.
After her friend left, my mom felt compelled to call the man who heads up her church’s Senior Adults Ministry, of which she is a part, to see if he’d like to go with her to visit the dying man. He said sure, that they could go the next day. My mom tried to take a nap after her phone call, but the Lord wouldn’t let her rest. Not until she visited David.
My mom got up and went to the nursing home. She was met in David’s room by his good friend Bobby who informed my mom that David’s organs were shutting down due to, according to his doctors, his excessive consumption of Monster energy drinks after having given up alcohol years ago. My mom chatted with Bobby for the better part of an hour while David seemed to be glaring at her; it didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce she wasn’t welcome.
A nurse overheard Bobby and my mom talking. She said quietly to my mom, “I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, but if there’s something you feel like you need to share with David, I would do so today.” As she walked away, my mom knew the time had come.
My mom told me it was all the Lord (she wanted me to emphasize that fact in this blog!). She didn’t have any lofty speech prepared, no fire and brimstone rhetoric. She only had the Holy Spirit and the fruit of His love and gentleness working through her.
She talked with David a bit about his falling out with the Catholic Church and assured him she wasn’t there to discuss Catholicism or any other denomination…only Jesus. She told him that he could have peace while facing death as well as the promise of everlasting life in heaven if he believed and declared that he’d made Jesus his Lord.
My mom could feel David begin to soften. She looked him in the eye and asked him if he believed that Jesus had died for his sins and whether he believed He was God’s Son, and David said yes. She asked if she could pray with him, a sinner’s prayer, and he said yes. After she’d said amen, his whole countenance had changed. He was, what Paul called, “a new creation”.
My mom called to check on David the following day and was told he was comatose. A month ago, the doctors had only given him three of four days to live, but God knew he had one more appointment to make, one He’d scheduled with my mom.
I hope you, like me, have been encouraged and inspired by my mom’s obedience. It isn’t easy to step outside our comfort zones and run the risk of being mocked or ridiculed. But maybe, just maybe, if we obey the Lord and take that risk, one day we’ll be met in heaven with individuals who will hug our necks and say, “Because of you, I’m here.”
 http://www.lifeway.com/Article/research-survey-sharing-christ-2012 (accessed January 8, 2016)
 http://www.biblesearchers.com/hebrewchurch/synagogue/seal.shtml (accessed January 8, 2016)
 Romans 10:9
 2 Corinthians 5:17