It was the spring of 1981. I was driving solo across the southwest heading east on I-40 near Tucumcari, New Mexico. That’s when my Ford Fiesta gave up the ghost. In those ancient days before cell phones, I had no choice but to start sauntering down the highway. I had recently passed a billboard announcing a Stuckey’s a few miles ahead.
Now for the backstory…my parents catechized me with, “Don’t you ever hitch-hike, because you’ll end up face down in a ditch.” But after a few minutes of walking in the desert, a little blue Toyota pulled over ahead of me. Cautiously, I walked to the car. I wanted to make sure the driver wasn’t a wacko.
He looked balanced enough, so I asked for a lift. After a couple minutes of pleasantries, he reached behind me into the back seat. I thought, “I can’t believe this – my parents were right. I’m going to end up face down in a ditch!” I visualized him reaching for a .44 Smith & Wesson.
From the back seat, he handed me a flier that spoke of Jesus. He told me Jesus had changed his life back in 1957. He was an inmate in the New York prison system and had been listening to Billy Graham on the radio while he was preaching in New York City.
Then he said something that struck me. He looked at me and said, “Christians are too quiet. They do not talk to people about Jesus.”
After a few minutes, we rolled in to the Stuckey’s. I went inside to call a tow truck. When I returned, the little blue Toyota was gone. Reflecting on what the man said, I think he was right on target.
Statistics say 95% of Christians will never lead one person to Christ, and 90% of Christians will never try. There seems to be a disconnect. I’m convinced we have the greatest news in all the world. I’m baffled. Why do so few Christians pass the good news on to others? Most Christians I talk to say, “I don’t know how to start the conversation. What do I say? What if I mess it up?”
Just like any acquired skill, it helps to have a coach coupled with ongoing evaluated practice. Basketball is a good example. I had a good coach in college, and we spent the majority of our practice time running drills that developed us in the fundamentals of the game. We shot, rebounded and defended so many times the skills became part of who we were and are today.
The same is true with sharing the gospel. The more you learn and practice, the more natural you will feel when beginning gospel conversations. It will become second nature.
Let me share four thoughts that motivate me to be consistent in sharing the good news.
1. Have a heart filled with gratitude for God’s work in saving you.Do you remember how grateful you were to God when you experienced His grace and forgiveness? You were grateful to God for sending someone to share the good news with you? I remember the people who told me about the Lord. Take some time and remember the circumstances of how God drew you to Himself. Any and all service we do for God should flow from a heart full of gratitude.
2. Being consistent in sharing the good news is simple obedience to Jesus. After His resurrection Jesus told His followers, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.” (emphasis added) Luke 24:46-48.
And also Luke 6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”
It’s risky talking to people about the Lord. For people whose spiritual lives are vanilla and lack luster, I have a prescription. Confess and repent of all known sin, ask God to fill you with His Spirit, and take a risk for God. Be in a situation where your feet are firmly planted in mid-air, and if God doesn’t come through for you, you’re in trouble.
My friend says, “People jump out of perfectly good airplanes with a parachute for the adrenaline rush. They jump off of high bridges with a bungee cord strapped around their ankles for the adrenaline rush. If God’s people begin sharing the gospel, taking risks spiritually, they will have all the right kind of adrenaline they will ever need!”
Out of simple obedience, it’s our privilege to launch out in faith and take the good news to the entire world.
3. There is a need to warn people. In Luke 16, Jesus told about a rich man who went to hell. While in hell, he thought of his five brothers and asked if someone could go to warn them. He didn’t want his brothers to also end up in hell, Luke 16:27-28. We need to ask God to give us a greater concern and compassion for lost people.
William Booth, Founder of the Salvation Army, said, “Most Christians would like to send their recruits to Bible College for five years. I would like to send them to hell for five minutes. That would do more than anything else to prepare them for a lifetime of compassionate ministry.”
If we could see the torments of hell for five minutes, that would be enough to motivate most believers to be consistent in sharing the good news with others who have no idea of their dangerous situation.
4. We will be rewarded by Jesus for faithful service. Paul the Apostle wrote to the church at Corinth. He said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” (emphasis added) 1 Corinthians 3:6-8
The one who plants and the one who waters are on the same team. I love the part that says, “…and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” The Bible teaches how we live on earth for a limited time will determine the rewards we enjoy for all eternity. The Bible teaches crowns will be awarded in heaven for faithful service. If we receive crowns, we will cast them at the feet of Jesus in worship.
My desire is that these four thoughts:
- Heartfelt gratitude
- Simple obedience
- Need to warn people
- Rewards for faithful service
would motivate and challenge you to be consistent in sharing the good news.
Imagine what would happen if every one of our lives began to look like the people in the book of Acts. We would say, “We can’t help but speak of the things we’ve seen and heard.” Acts 4:20
As we scatter we would go everywhere proclaiming the good news. Acts 8:4
Then people would say, “You’ve filled Jerusalem (place your city in the blank) with this teaching about Jesus.” Acts 5:28
The man I met on the road in New Mexico was right. Christians are too quiet. God can use you to change this situation. Will you make getting equipped to share the gospel a priority in your life? As you get equipped, God can use you to equip others.