This week's devotional is from Pastor Art Greco.
There is a tactic to “sharing Jesus” in delicate contexts – contexts like work, school, or PTA meetings. Well, it’s more of a set of rules or values than a “tactic” really. I learned them from two sources back in the day: 1) my dad, and 2) Young Life. They’re quite simple. Ready? Here they are.
- Be present;
- Be yourself;
- Be honest;
- Be reasonable.
1. To be present means that you’re involved enough in lives to, as Young Life used to emphasize, “Earn the right to be heard”. Last Sunday I reminded us that hypocrisy sterilizes evangelism. Today I want to affirm another, less often considered, reality: distance sterilizes evangelism too. So be engaged, be a friend, be present.
2. Be yourself. In other words, when God chose you, he chose the “you” he created through all of your experiences – good and not so good. It makes no sense and does no good to talk about Jesus if you have to take on a “special evangelism personality” to do it. If you’re a quiet person, then share quietly. Is your language usually casual and fun? Then so should your spiritual conversations be. You don’t need to take on a “Billy Graham persona” to tell someone about Jesus. All God wants of you is that you be yourself.
3. Being honest is simply about telling the truth when people ask you questions.
“Hey, how come you’re not freakin’ out about the rumors of lay-offs like everyone else around here?”
The honest answer? “I AM concerned – maybe even a little nervous, but I’ve asked God to take care of ALL of us. Besides, life’s an adventure, right? I just hope God sees this the same way I do.”
The answer we sometimes give? “Because “freakin’ out” isn’t going to help anyone.”
“Freaking out ISN’T going to help anyone, but when we hold back from telling how our faith carries us, the deeper, more foundational part of our lives - our experience with God isn't going to help anyone either. To do that is a form of “dishonesty” that results from an intentional truncation.
4. Be reasonable. For instance, be reasonable with the time and place of your sharing. Scripture reminds us that Christians should be among the very best employers, students, and friends around. It’s unreasonable to assume that we should be allowed to use time we’re being paid to work for anything other than that. COMPLETELY unreasonable – sort of like stealing, then blaming it on God.
We also need to remember to have reasonable approaches and expectations. Spiritual transformation is a slowly cooked meal, not a fast-food burger. Enjoy the long-term process and beware of slick styles that turn the heat up too high and too quickly. When that happens, people don’t feel embraced – they feel burned. When discussing Christian Spirituality in your “this time tomorrow” circumstances, relax; God’s got this; be reasonable.
Take some time to consider two examples of Jesus talking to people about their faith. First is the “woman at the well” in John 4 and the second is the “rich, young ruler” in Mark 10:17ff.
- How did Jesus demonstrate the 4 rules/values above?
- Think about what might have given him such freedom.
- How much “worry” or “pressure” do you see in the way he approached each evangelistic situation?
BE A BLESSING
One of the points of last Sunday’s message was to remember to practice “prayer evangelism”. Discern the face of one person for whom you have a deep love and desire to become a follower of Jesus.
Every morning, perhaps during your first break of the day, pray this prayer for them:
“Dear Holy Spirit of God, Please do work in "Jim's" heart. Soften him to the idea of your love for him. And draw him into a relationship of faith in you. Oh, and use me in any way you see fit to see that happen. Fight for him, Lord. Have mercy on him. Bring good into his life. In fact, bless Jim with NEW life. Amen.”
Then watch to see what transpires over the coming weeks and months.