A couple of weeks ago I preached a passionate call to become living witnesses, to share our faith with a broken world. Jesus calls us to “go and make disciples,” and he’s got “all authority in heaven and on earth,” so we’d better get busy (Matthew 28:18-20).
I believe this. I do.
The weird thing is, most of my most memorable and fruitful evangelism moments have had almost nothing to do with me taking any kind of initiative. In fact, you could say they “happened to me.” Most of my witness wonders fit into the category of “always be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have,” like Paul instructs in I Peter 3:15.
My wife, Shauna, has amazing opportunities to share her faith with people, much more often than me. “That’s amazing,” I’ll often remark as she recounts a recent conversation with a seeker that took amazing twists and turns toward Jesus. “God is using you!”
“But I didn’t do anything,” she often insists, confounded as anyone by how on earth this could have happened.
It’s at moments like these that I remember that God is already at work in the person I’m sharing with, that there are millions of life stories already underway unfolding all around me. That if I let God change me and lead me, he’ll weave me into those stories quite naturally. Some of this weaving involves me stepping over my fear barrier to take initiative, like this morning. While at the supermarket, I handed a clerk I’m getting to know an invitation to a new series I’ll be preaching in church. My hands were shaking, but I did it.
But I also know that there are moments coming when all I’ll have to do is show up, and God will do the rest.
What a mystery.