September 19, 2005
By John Fischer
I heard a story once about a girl who flunked witnessing. Though this was an actual course she failed at a Bible college, I think we can all identify on some level with flunking witnessing as not a course, but a reality in our daily lives. I’ve flunked witnessing numerous times by simply not making myself available to the Holy Spirit for the job. Others have probably flunked witnessing by not feeling prepared enough. We have all kinds of ways of disqualifying ourselves for this job. We wouldn’t know what to say. We wouldn’t know how to bring up the subject. We haven’t taken the course, much less passed it.
But telling others about Christ is one of the five great purposes in our lives. Why do we often find this so hard? Partly I think it’s because we’ve made such a big deal about it. In some circles it’s not one of five purposes, it’s our only purpose, and it’s usually presented as if we were at a sales conference getting pumped to sell our product.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a very poor salesman. I’m the kind of guy whose sales pitch would be, “You don’t want to buy this, do you?” I don’t like interrupting people. I don’t like infringing on their space. I hate it when people do that to me, so why would I engage in it myself? Plus, I don’t like pretense. I don’t like being nice to someone just to make a deal. I wouldn’t want anyone to think they are a means to an end.
That’s why I’ve been very encouraged to find out that true witnessing doesn’t involve any of these things. It doesn’t even involve having a memorized speech. Witnessing is really nothing more than befriending people and telling them your story at the right time (usually when they ask you).
Witnessing is being so in love with God that you eventually end up talking about Him. Witnessing is being so overwhelmed by the undeserved nature of your salvation that you can’t contain your joy. Witnessing isn‘t coercing someone; it’s quite the opposite. It’s having someone coerce the gospel out of you, because they can’t stand not knowing what’s going on with you anymore.
If you want to prepare for anything, think about your own story, how you can tell it, and how you can connect it to the events that are happening around you, and the things that are going on in the world that you know people want to talk about. But don’t worry about not being prepared. Probably some of the best witnesses around are people who would flunk a witnessing course, but make excellent friends.
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