No, I am not trying to be provocative – that was the response I recently got from a person after I offered a Gospel of John to them!
We were axe-throwing. I, and others, had never heaved a hatchet, so we gave it a try.
My first observation was, “Gee whiz, this is not the type of establishment I normally frequent.”
Our “coach” was terrific. At the end of our session, I shared a Gospel of John with her. (Yes, we had an axe-throwing coach, and yes, our coach was a gal. Let me tell you, by all measures, she is not someone to be trifled with!)
Her response was, “I love Jesus, he was the first communist!”
This story is a picture of the kind of interaction many of Jesus’ followers fear. We are not interested in arguing. We want to avoid responding with a sarcastic snipe. We feel ill-equipped to respond in love. In total, concern over this sort of episode leads many of us, as followers of Jesus, to not talk about our faith.
Yet this sort of encounter also brings front-and-center a question, “Do I, do you, really want to share the Gospel?” Today, so many people have so many different views of Jesus – and so many negative views of His followers – that “us Christians” are largely silent.
To answer the question, “Do I, do you, really want to share the Gospel?”, let’s “go upstream” and ask two more questions.
- Do you believe that by following Jesus, you and others have a better life here on earth? Do you believe it is God: Father-Son-Holy Spirit that gives us by His grace the ability to overcome the traps of this world (the sin) that so easily ensnares us?I do. I believe without God, without accepting Jesus, there is no Holy Spirit indwelling me. Without the Holy Spirit, I don’t stand a chance. Sin will cling to me, I will pursue it full throttle, and in the end, sin will destroy my life on earth.
- Do you believe that unless you turn to Jesus, repent of your sins, and accept Him as Lord of your life, you will spend eternity separated from God – in hell?I do. I should spend more time thinking about heaven, hell, and eternity. Perhaps we all should.
Bottom line: we all need Jesus. Without him, we are truly “dead men walking”.
And so, Jesus’ command to “love my neighbor (and my enemy),” His command to “go and make,” and finally His words, “If you love me, you will obey me” – these and the whole counsel of Scripture when considered in light of the consequences we face, should compel me to share my faith.
Most Christians understand these consequences. However, for most of us, daily life distances us from these eternal realities and dulls our desire to share.
I want to share my faith, but I don’t want to argue, or be angry, or be ambushed by some aggressive person – which is why I love simply offering a Gospel of John without arguing.
I didn’t have much of a relationship with my “axe-throwing coach”. I and others had been trying to learn the skill for over an hour (by the way, it was fun!). We had a good time, and our coach helped us – and so I got to know her just a little bit.
In the end, I shared with her that I and my friends were followers of Jesus, and I wanted to share with her some of Jesus’ words – a Gospel of John.
That is when I got the response that Jesus was the first communist!
Maybe she really believed that. Maybe she was trying to be provocative. I expect the more likely reason is that her defenses went up. Might, once she heard the word Christian, she then immediately activated her defense shields? Might her mind, in a nano-second, have been flooded with concerns over receiving a lecture, or a commentary on her life, or worse?
All the fears we face that lead us to not share—are the exact same fears people who don’t follow Jesus hold when confronted by a Christian. Most people don’t want to argue, or be angry, or be ambushed by some aggressive Christian.
Whatever her reason, in that moment, it didn’t matter. Her comment that Jesus was the first communist, was out there.
I simply said something like, “Interesting, to me he is much more. And if the God I believe in, that is described in this book, is really the way this book describes him, then he doesn’t need me to argue for him. I hope you will read it – it contains His words – not mine. And, we really did have a great time, thank you for coaching us.”
Her response was, “Cool, you’re right about if he is really God.” She took the book. We parted on good terms.
I, and my friends, prayed she not only would read the Gospel of John, but turn her life over to Jesus. We prayed the Holy Spirit would do the heavy lifting of her human heart. After all, it is the Holy Spirit who will open her eyes.
That encounter made all of us a little stronger in our walk with Jesus. I pray that encounter helped “my coach” think a little differently about Jesus’ followers. My, our, deep prayer is that God’s grace, love, and mercy pours over her.
Let’s all realize the fears we face to share our faith, are the same fears most people have when we approach them.
We do need to invite people to meet Jesus. Please Read-Carry-Share ®. And keep the faith.