2007-12-18 - How to Witness
A couple weeks ago, I talked about the importance of developing relationships in order to be a witness to people around you. I am proud to say that after seven years of building a relationship with a bright young man that he came to know Christ this past Thursday as we sat and discussed the bible. Discussing the bible was not something that came natural but it was something I deliberately worked into my relationship with this person. You see the words of God are all about the Word of God, And the Word, Jesus, is the only one who can change a person forever. (See Matthew 5:17, Luke 24:44, John 1:45.) It has not been easy to invest seven years in this fellow; it's no small task to decide to be the visible image of an invisible God to a person.
It has been worth it because that young man is very dear to me; he's my seven-year-old son. Thursday night we were reading a bible passage in 2 Thessalonians as part of our Advent celebration. My wife and I got off on a bit of a tangent but our son listened to what we said and began to cry. He said he knew we would go to heaven and he wanted to go with us but did not know how.
Then I pulled out a simple booklet I had come across earlier that week that explained the plan of salvation using three simple statements that were on his level: "Sorry", "Please", and "Thank You". This booklet wasn't something I got in order to talk to Jordan about salvation. It was actually something I picked up at a friends church last year on Christmas Eve and had left at my office and forgotten about. I saw it again last week in my cubicle, read it, and placed in my laptop bag to bring home with me. I intended just to put it in my library. Little did I know that I would be able to use what I read so soon. Jordan and I sat and read those phrases and I took time to explain each one to him. He listened because he knew I cared and he trusted me. He listened because we had a relationship.
Relationship evangelism works. But you have to invest yourself and that's no small task. It requires things like love and enthusiasm. With my son, it's easy to love him and even to be excited about things he likes whether it's Transformers, dinosaurs, or video games. (My wife says she has to raise two of us.) However, there are people who are not so easy to love but love them I must because God is love so people can only know God through the love they see. You and I also have to get excited about things that excite them. If I won't listen to a coworker talk for 20 minutes about his latest vacation or some console game he is hooked on and be excited with him about it then why should I expect him to listen to me tell him about what he may well see as just some person I know and get excited about him?
It also takes honesty and transparency. I do not know how many times I've had to tell my son I was sorry about something and admit I was wrong. Maybe it was the driver who cut me off and I fussed at for the next few minutes or the short words I said to him but I have to let Jordan know that I'm not perfect or he might have thought he had to be perfect before he could become a Christian. I have to let him and others know that I am just a human - same as them.
These are the big secrets. Invest time. Invest love. Invest energy. Be open. After all isn't that what Jesus did for us?
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted