In my travels around the Asia Pacific region for work, for many years, the Lord gave me many opportunities to share the gospel and my testimony. Often it was easy for me to share the gospel, but at other times I found I was tongue-tied. Why?
1. I did not have a testimony to share that day – The Christian life is not all plain-sailing. There are ups and downs which we all face. However, when I was not victorious in Christ over besetting sins, or doubts, I could not share about God’s love for me and for His many blessings on my life. When I realized a missed opportunity it would then drive me to my knees for confession and cleansing and renewal of perspectives from His Word.
2. I was not appreciative of the blessings of God – there were times when auditees were antagonistic and I would rather complain than thank Him for His presence and blessings. Then I could not share because His praise did not fill my mouth. We cannot witness if we are complaining. Only in praise and thanksgiving can we be a witness for Christ. So when I have to complain, I pause in my witnessing. If this becomes too often, I know I have been side-tracked by the enemy.
3. I was afraid of rejection and beholden to the person who needed the Lord as witnessed by the Spirit. This happened if the person was more senior than me in the organization, I felt kind of intimidated and preferred not to share or risk rejection. With that thought, I could not bless my auditees for I was not dependent on God to speak through me, but on myself, incapable I thought. I also thought I would “lose face” if he/she rejected the gospel for I took it personally, when I should not. I forgot the correct understanding that my duty was just to tell the gospel, and it was the Holy Spirit’s responsiblity to draw that person to Christ. Vain imaginations of the prospective convert, and unfounded fears of responses, are the enemy’s best tools to preempt sharing of the gospel.
4. I did not have the materials to share when the opportunity arose – I did not obey the Word of God – to be ready in season and out of season, to share about the love of God, and to share what I believe. I resolved this by always carrying an extra copy of the Daily Bread or a tract, which proved such a blessing as I could give it away anywhere, at the airport, in the car, at the office, at the coffee shop or in hotels. Someone who is travelling and bored to death is always thankful for some reading material. So if there was not time to completely share the gospel, a copy of the Daily Bread engrosses a person and he or she will read to the end where there is the Salvation message for the reader. I would truly then just be a postman.
5. There was no time to share as work took priority – Ever conscious of audit deadlines and the issue of work ethics, ie. do not steal company time for anything but work, not even for witnessing, I missed the cue of a hungry or hurting soul. The misconception was work took priority and people was in second place. How wrong I was, because a person with peace in his/her heart would co-operate more than a grouchy and restive person .
6. In group settings, it was difficult to share a testimony with strangers. I realized, as I later experienced, that many times those who are against the gospel, may actually stand up for it , if not for any other reason in Eastern tradition, but being polite to a guest. When I shared in groups, it often made the sharing easier as others contributed their views and the message became applicable to all rather than personal. However, it was difficult to zero in for a personal decision for Christ, when I knew that there was conviction of the Holy Spirit.
7. I had the prompting of the Spirit to share but I disobeyed. When self takes centre-stage, it is easy to disobey with all rationalizations and reasons. However, they were all excuses – not right time, place, people etc. I really forgot about the urgency of sharing the gospel and succumbed to the thought that there will be another opportunity, which sadly never came. I had to consciously remember the adage : “Opportunity knocks on your doorsteps only once, so grab it.”
8. After all, many were strangers who were not my responsiblity as the Lord could bring someone closer home to bring the message of salvation to them. Later, I realized that in third world countries, if we who know the Lord do not share, there will be no one who could share, because their background is of idol worship and worldly pursuits. How then will they hear if I do not share? Everyone who came across my path is ordered by the Lord for a purpose. Would I fulfil that purpose or irresponsibly walk away from sharing the good news which has blessed me so?
9. It was easier to share with a strange woman than a man – with closer affinity and common topics to share. However, the Lord loves everyone equally. At my management level there were more men than women and my responsiblity was to minister to all He brought into my path – there was to be no sexual discrimination. The Lord helped, as I found that it was easier for me, a woman to bring the gospel of peace and God’s love to male auditees, than my male Christian colleagues. Auditees would listen patiently yes, to women especially, more senior in age in Asian cultures, than give ear to a man of equal standing.
How long has it been since you shared your faith or experience in the Lord with a non-Christian believer? Take time to analyze why you are not obeying the Lord with the Great Commission being of some importance and priority in your life, then seek the Lord for guidance, wisdom, discernment to share. Not only will you know His purpose for you, you would also fulfil His purpose for you May we seize every opportunity for His name’s sake.
Who shall He send? Who will go for us?
“Lord lay some soul upon my heart
And love that soul through me
And may I ever do my part
To win that soul for Thee. ”