There is a story that when Billy Graham was visiting a city for one of his crusades. He was looking for a place to mail a letter, and was walking around the city for a while. He came across a young boy, and asked the boy if he knew how to get to the post office. The boy gave Billy Graham the directions and before leaving, Billy said to the boy, “Come on over to the arena tonight, and I’ll tell you how to get to heaven.” The boy looked at him and replied, “How can you know how to get to heaven? You don’t even know the way to the post office!”
As Christians we not only know the way to get to heaven, we are supposed to share it with others. In the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” I think most Christians like the idea of witnessing to their faith, but aren’t sure how to do it.
I heard a sermon from Mike Reinsel, director of the mission agency Rivers of the World recently, and he gave two wonderful ways that we can witness our faith to people that will often be received well by people we don’t even know.
The first is a response to the question, “How are you doing?” We all know that a polite “Fine” is what is expected, but sometimes people have something a little cleverer. Long before radio host Dave Ramsey coined the phrase Mike said he was saying, “Better than I deserve” in response to the simple greeting. Usually people looked at him oddly, and then went on with life, but sometimes people would ask him what he meant. He would then have an opportunity to share a simple presentation of the gospel.
He might say something like, “As is true of all people, I struggle with sin. It would be understandable for a holy and just God to condemn me to everlasting punishment for my sins, but He does not. He has sent His son Jesus to die for my sins, and my salvation to eternal life, which means every day of my life I am better than I deserve because I am going to live for eternity with God. That makes everything else pale in comparison.”
Sometimes after that simple explanation people want to know more, and he has the opportunity to go into more depth while finding out more about the person, and ministering to their needs. Be careful if you decide to try this with people. You may find yourself telling people about the Good News of the Gospel a lot more often than you ever have before.
The second way to witness is in restaurants. Many Christians have begun bowing in prayer before their meals, even in these public places. Mike waits to offer this prayer until the waiter comes with the food, and then says something like, “I was just getting ready to thank God for this food, can I say a prayer for you?” He says that the first time the waiter will be a bit overwhelmed, and at the same time be very curious. They will offer a simple request, usually for their family, and then uncomfortably wait for you to be done. Often, when he goes to the same restaurant more regularly the waiter will make sure s/he gets to wait on his table. They look forward to the prayer. Over time, he will have waiters sit down, talk about prayer needs, and give him a chance to tell them about faith in Jesus Christ.
These are two simple forms of “Everyday Evangelism.” Can you ever see yourself doing either of these? Could you make an agreement with yourself to try both of them at least once, or for one week? I hope you will tell a friend about these, and challenge one another to try them. Then get together and share what happened. I feel certain you will have a strong sense of God’s presence with you.
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