By Edwin Crayton/Opinion
If Jesus were to walk up to you and ask you for a minute of your time, would you give it to him? Well, if you are a Christian, I hope you would. You want to know something? I believe you would. As a genuine believer, you would know that sharing Jesus with others is an essential calling for everyone who believes. Jesus himself commanded us to tell others about him, so that they would accept him as savior and lord and also accept his gift of salvation. The most compelling calls to tell others about him, came from Christ himself and there are several of them in the Scriptures. The two most famous and enlightening examples of this are Matthew 28:19-20 and John 14:6. In Matthew 28:19-20 he said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Those words make it clear that the first reason we should do it is because we are simply commanded to evangelize to others. The second example is from John 14:6. Here Jesus gives a powerful, almost chilling reason why we need to take that command seriously. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Whoa! He’s certainly putting it on the line there. He is saying bluntly, that people cannot even get into heaven if they do not accept him as savior and Lord. With two such potent verses, how can we ignore the call to tell others about Jesus? Yet many do ignore it. Researcher and Writer Aaron Earls wrote an article for Lifeway Research based on a study done in 2016. He wrote, “Most unchurched Americans say they have multiple Christian friends, but those friends haven’t shared with them how or why they should follow Christ.”
Why? The reasons vary, but as a Gideon, I’ve been trained to understand that fear plays a role. And also, many people don’t feel confident that they know enough about the Bible to share Christ. But if you will read the last line of Matthew 28:19-20, you will see that Jesus promised, he would “be with us”. So, we can be confident that he will help us and give us the words. With Jesus by our side, what is there to fear? As for not knowing enough to share, whatever your experience with God is, it can help someone. It is very valuable to just share how you became a believer. And as for ignorance of the Bible, attending Sunday School and church regularly should help.
But this is really more of a list than an article. Here are ways to witness that won’t take much time, yet, may have impact. To be clear, what I mean by evangelism is that these are acts you can do that will plant the seeds that could inspire a person to consider God and the message of salvation through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. That can be done quickly as saying “God loves you.” By the way, that is the first suggestion on the list. Here is that one, and the rest. One last thing: always pray before doing any evangelism. You’re asking Jesus to help. He said he would. He will.
- Give a Christian greeting. Instead of greeting people with “What’s going on dude?” Switch to a spiritual greeting such as “God bless you.” Or “God loves you.” Don’t be surprised if someone expresses gratitude. (Time: about 10 seconds)
- Hand out a Christian flyer. Ask, “Can I share a spiritual message with you?” Some will say yes. Some will say no. Don’t take it personally. I’m going to guess you’ll get a lot more people who will accept than reject. (Time: About 20 to 30 seconds)
- In a supermarket line, pay for the items of the person in front of you. Many Christians do this. Of course, they usually make sure it’s not a lot of items. But the key is to give God the credit. “Don’t thank me. Thank God.” (It was indeed God.) Remember to give in love and because you want to help the person. (Time, probably a minute.)
- Invite a friend or coworker to church, if you believe your pastor is someone who inspires and delivers a solid Christian message. People tend to respond to invitations from people that they know. That message may have a good impact. (Time: 1 minute) Pray.
- Wear t-shirts that have a Bible verse on them. People read t-shirts. If you wore two or three you could reach a lot of people and the same people would be treated to different verses. Verses also give you an opportunity to explain them when someone comments on the t-shirt. But even if not, they will still read it. (Time: Short verse can be read in 20 seconds.)
- Place a Bible verse bumper sticker on the back of your vehicle. This is a variation of the last suggestion (Time: Less than a minute).
- Ask people if you can pray for them. Be sure to follow through and actually do it. There is so much stress out there. Many people need support and prayers. But many cannot ask. When you approach them first, it eliminates that barrier. It takes only a few seconds to ask, but the prayers will require a longer investment of time. You can pray for them on the spot or privately, at home. Jesus said, the key to successful prayers is to believe (Mark 11:22-24).
- Send a check to an organization that is great at mission work to lost people or outreach evangelism. By supporting them you will also be supporting outreach to the lost. (Time: 1 minute to write the check or pay online.) Do it again and again and you will have started a check writing ministry.
- Volunteer to help an organization that helps the needy such as a homeless shelter, or food pantry. As you work, give Christian greetings: “God bless you today.” (Time: less than a minute) People appreciate kind words when they’re struggling—-and when they are not.
- Give a testimony at church, or at a community meeting or public event. Some churches encourage this by proving space in the church service. But you might have to make an opportunity by giving the testimony during a prayer meeting, social meeting or Sunday School class. There is no reason you can’t give it at a public, nonreligious meeting where nonbelievers are present. Testimonies tell what God has done for you. They really draw people in because they are real experiences. People also learn from what has happened in your life when God intervened in some way. (Time: You can give a testimony in a minute—just a few words.)
That’s just a sample list and I have no doubt that many people could add to it or top it. In fact, I hope you will. The point is, we believers are called to evangelize because God knows that the dying world out there needs Christians to share Jesus with them. When you see distressing news in the paper or online, remember, many of these things are happening because people don’t believe in God or have not been taught his values. That is where we who say we believe in Jesus come in. He counts on us who are Christians to fill in the gaps and help lost people learn about Jesus. It’s their best opportunity to live a better life and their only opportunity to be saved (John 14:6, John:3:16-19). The simple truth is, if you believe the Holy Bible, without Jesus, people spend eternity in hell—a miserable fiery pit with cries of anguish and pain. There is no parole in hell. Is it worth a minute of your time to do your part to participate in God’s plan to stop people from going to such an awful place? A minute may not seem like much. But it’s a lot better than giving no minutes. I think Jesus is tapping you on the shoulder. I am going to guess, he wants a minute of your time. You might want to think how you’re going to answer?
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Look for this opinion article at least twice monthly in the Journal. Attend church Sunday. God bless you.
The next Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation quarterly meeting is Tuesday, July 11, 7pm at First Baptist Church, 1116 Amulet, Natchitoches, LA. This is a public meeting.