Actually, I don’t want you to feel guilty about your witness for Christ. I just used that headline to get your attention. I know. I’m bad. Sorry about that. But now that you have forgiven me and I have your attention I want to share a brief word with you.
That’s a scary word for many Christians. The person who regularly shares his faith sometimes hears other Christians say, “I could never do what you do.”
Do you want to know a secret? Yes you can!
In general, there are four kinds of Christians where sharing your faith is concerned. As you examine this list, select which one best describes you. I promise. You fit into one of these categories.
Those who miss opportunity
This is most of us. There are opportunities to bring a spiritual emphasis into interactions all around us, but we don’t see them. We may recognize a few but are often at a loss to know how to take advantage of what is before us. With just a little training and some conscientious practice we can become people who fit the next category.
Those who recognize opportunity
There are two subgroups to this category. Those who take advantage of the opportunity and those who don’t. Imagine in a conversation someone says something like this, “I don’t think I have experienced much love in my life.” Do you see an opportunity to present the love of Christ or simply a hug and gentle reassuring squeeze? The opportunity may be recognized but not capitalized on.
With a little training and practice we can know how to respond to such a person. In fact, if you practice you could become a person who fits into the third category.
Those who seek opportunity
This is the person who is paying attention and is proactively seeking out spiritual opportunities or meaning in everyday interactions. This person is more spiritually minded than most. This person challenges himself or herself with questions like, “How can I share Christ with someone today?” I once heard a radio program interview a businessman who prayed, everyday, that God would send someone to his shop that he could lead to faith in Christ. Do you know what happened? Everyday, for more than 20 years, he lead someone to faith in Christ. His story is a bit unusual. But the point is this: when we seek opportunity God will supply opportunity.
What kind of witness do you want to be? We can all, easily, become people who seek opportunity. Whether we recognize it is another thing. But we can all seek. And a person who becomes a diligent seeker can become a person in our fourth category.
Those who create opportunity
I was waiting for my friend, Steve to pick me up at a shopping mall. As I waited by the exit I was standing next to an elderly lady who was also waiting for a pick up. We began to talk and she told me that it was an important day for her. “It’s my birthday,” she said. “I turned 100 today.”
“Congratulations!” I said. “That is remarkable. I’ve never met a centenarian before!” We talked about her experience, her children (she outlived them all), and other things related to her age.
When Steve arrived to pick me up he began talking with her and she told him, “It’s my birthday. I turned 100 today.”
The first thing out of Steve’s mouth was this: “Boy! Somebody up there must really love you.” He then asked other questions designed to probe her spiritual life. He recognized opportunity, but he also tried hard to create it. He didn’t wait for someone else to broach the spiritual, he led with it. This is his regular practice to this day and it helps him share Jesus with many people. He intentionally creates opportunity to talk about Jesus.
What kind of witness for Christ do you want to be? Start where you think you are in our list and set the next category as your goal. Being a witness for Christ is something we must do intentionally by orienting our thinking and expressions toward spiritual things. We may not all become creators of opportunity, but we can all become seekers at some level.
A little training can help. Ask your church for a training class about sharing your faith. Or contact a ministry like Cru that can help train you to successfully share your faith (www.cru.org/train-and-grow). Any Christian can do it because the Holy Spirit empowers us to do it. We simply need to make the decision to do what is necessary to become the kind of witness God wants us to be. And once you get started you may discover that evangelism isn’t as scary a word as you thought.