I’m reading a book by John MacArthur called Nothing But the Truth: Upholding the Gospel in a Doubting Age. It deals mostly with evangelism. The chapter I read a few nights ago dealt with evangelistic prayer. It emphasized the importance of praying for the unsaved. As I read the chapter, I started to think of all the friends and coworkers in my life, who may be receptive to the Gospel message. I’ve built solid relationships with people at work and kickball, who know me well, but don’t know about the personal relationship I have with Jesus Christ. I know about their pains and daily struggles.
So, I prayed for these folks and asked God for the opportunity to talk with them about Christ in the coming days. As I mentally went through the list of folks I started with, more and more folks came to mind.
It’s a simple thing, but when I came to work the next morning, I shared out one of my iTunes playlists. (Note: Many folks in the office share out their playlists, so everyone can listen to each other’s music with iTunes.) Well, instead of sharing out a sample of songs, I shared out several sermons and lectures by John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul that dealt with work-related issues (like honoring God with your work ethic, finding the right job, etc.). I was pleased to find my playlist accessed routinely throughout the day.
At lunch, I sat with my friend and coworker, M.. (We went to a couple rock shows together last month.) Our conversations usually revolve around how Sprint Nextel is screwing us over—disgruntled, to say the least. On this day, I decided to stay positive and tell him, truthfully, that I wasn’t too worried about circumstances beyond my control. I told him it would actually be cool to not have to work in January, because I was planning to take seminary classes this winter. He seemed surprised that I was interested in going to seminary. He told me how he grew up in a Catholic school and needed to “get back into it.” I told him I was a Protestant—to which he suggested that Protestants and Catholics basically believe the same thing. It wasn’t the time to bring up theology, so I let it pass. He told me that all religions basically believe the same thing (which didn’t surprise me, since this is the prevailing view of our pluralistic & relativist culture), but what he hated most of all was when people tried to push their beliefs on him. We didn’t talk about religion after that, but the door is still open. At least now he knows where I stand, and the topic is within limits to talk about. M. is one of the people I will pray for.
J., the girl I sort of dated this summer, is another one I pray for. She recently showed up to a kickball board meeting and, while we chatted about each other’s love lives, she mentioned all these instances, when lame guys physically and emotionally mistreated her. It struck me hard at the time. I was so saddened by her jaded attitude towards dating and how little value she placed in herself. When I told her I was single again, she seemed genuinely excited about the possibility of hanging out. The reason, I can only imagine, is that I was probably the only guy she’s been with, who didn’t treat her like a sex object. While I don’t want to date her again, I am eager to hang out and be a good friend to her. Of all the people I know, she seems to be the most in need of spiritual deliverance. We are planning to meet on Monday for dinner. I’m going to pray continuously this weekend for God to prepare me for this evangelistic opportunity. I’ve never shared the Gospel with someone face-to-face. But I’m planning to on Monday. (Your prayers would be appreciated.)
There are others I would like to speak with about Christ. But J. and M. seem to be the ones God has placed in my path at this time.
I believe that once a Christian fails to be concerned with his own reputation in society (at work, at school, or even at kickball), his love for those around him blossoms and forces him to share the Gospel. After all, it’s because we love that we evangelize. If we do not evangelize, what does that say about our attitudes towards those around us? Do we love ourselves more than them? In order to have a heart for others, we must first take our eyes off ourselves.
Evangelism is something I’ve felt convicted to do for several years. Only now is it starting to happen. With God’s help, I will participate in the Great Commission and overcome the shame I feel for not having loved those around me. What happens to me, or my reputation, is irrelevant.
God, use me to accomplish your will. Help me to love J. and M. more than myself.