Telling people about Jesus can be weird and awkward.
No one wants to be approached by that person in line, or that guy with a pamphlet at your door, or that neighbor who, on the very first conversation, blasts you with “Have you accepted Jesus?” Even if we have, we cringe. No one likes being blasted.
Perhaps that is why we are sensitive to being the blaster.
Those of us who are committed to Christ are called to share the love of Christ. We believe the gospel. We know the freedom, joy, peace, and hope that it gives. We think eternally, and this makes evangelism one of the most important parts of our existence on earth. But we still don’t want to be “that” person. The topic of Jesus and the gospel is difficult to broach, and in many situations we don’t know how the recipient will respond. So, sometimes we steer so clear of blasting that we don’t approach the topic of Christ at all.
There must be an alternative to blasting and not speaking of Christ at all.
My small group leader recently observed that evangelism is a two-part process: creating opportunities for Christ, and then seizing those opportunities. The creating aspect is developing relationships with neighbors, friends, or family that don’t know Jesus.
Instead of blasting, we are truly making efforts to know them, invest time with them, and making an effort to love them. When we are in relationship with others, opportunities are naturally created to share the gospel. Then, when the name of Jesus comes out of our mouth, because it eventually will, it is not blasting. We are simply seizing the moment to share an important part of our lives.
Don’t get me wrong, it may still feel weird.
Our small group acquired a relationship with a man named Greg, who is homebound with health issues. Greg needed help getting groceries, but more importantly, he needed love. We began sharing costs for groceries and delivering them to him every other week, but the groceries were incidental – they really created an opportunity to share the love of Jesus.
Greg had recently undergone intensive surgery on his foot and was having to work through a long rehab in the hospital. One of our small group ladies suggested we write him some cards of encouragement for his hospital stay. So, I sat there, pen in hand, knowing I should seize this opportunity to write Greg a note of encouragement.
It felt weird. I had not even met the man! And, in light of what I said earlier, I did not want to be “that” Christian chick. I was ready to write but unsure what to say.
I thought for a minute, prayed, and wrote down a few words of encouragement. It took a grand total of 5 minutes. I thought, There. I did it. That was weird and he may find it weird. But, I knew I was seizing this opportunity to share love and hope, maybe even creating an opportunity to eventually share the gospel.
To my surprise, Greg did not find it weird. In fact, he was quite encouraged and excited to get a blessing like this from someone he didn’t even know. He received another card from someone else in the group, and he called our two cards “fan mail.” I loved it and immediately wanted to write to him again. I had no idea the card would mean so much. It had cost me so little – 5 minutes and a little weirdness.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
We must all learn to do what we are called to do: love people with the intent of sharing Christ, and then trust God with the rest.
If we try to talk about Christ with someone and it doesn’t go well, we really have lost nothing. But if we follow our fear of losing respect, it can inhibit the opportunities we have to share the gospel.
Respect is worth losing, but the message of Christ is not. Are you willing to risk feeling a little weird, for the amazing reward of being used by God in changing someone’s entire life and eternal trajectory?
If we believe the gospel, the answer should be clear.
Let us take heart, be courageous and learn how to create and seize opportunities for Jesus.