Make It Personal Part 2
Jesus was actually the first person to personally witness to me. Of course at the time I didn’t realize it was Jesus and only in retrospect can I fully appreciate his personal touch on that unscheduled stroll down Hollywood Blvd in 1972.
The country was being invaded by the Hippie Generation which I embraced with open arms. Peace, love, sex, drugs and rock and roll.
At the same time there was a phenomenon dubbed as the Jesus Revolution rising up.
Walking past two men on the middle of a sidewalk having a discussion all I heard were these words. “Jesus was a Jew”.
Those seemingly innocuous four words stuck with me. It may be hard to believe that a twenty two year old Jewish boy never even heard of Jesus.
Its true, my only contact with the man’s name was when I was either in a bar or pool room where the name Jesus was thrown around like a Frisbee on a Sunday afternoon in a crowded park.
Jesus was the master of personal witnessing. He found common ground with me that I couldn’t argue or disrepute. He was telling me, “hey buddy, I was Jewish just like you are. We have something in common.” Eight months later Jesus was firmly embedded in my heart and the rest is history.
I wanted to use this example because finding common ground with those we witness to or come into contact with plays such a big part in helping a stranger feel like there is a connection between him or her and you.
When someone sees that you too are struggling with your toddler trying to keep her contained and not reeking havoc on the supermarket you have found common ground. We can think of many such instances that confront us each day.
It’s a starting point. And how do we use this common ground to make our witness heard? We take the first step open our mouth say something and then trust the Lord that what happens after that is going to be just what is supposed to happen.
But keep in mind we don’t have to be like Forrest Gump sitting at the bus stop bench telling his whole life story. Neither will starting at Genesis and finishing with John on the island of Patmos in Revelation work either.
Planting or watering a seed doesn’t take much time. A word, a thought, a kindness, a smile or an understanding look is sometimes all it takes.
But for the most part we may only have a few minutes to spend with a stranger. Don’t feel that unless you deliver the whole sermon on the mount that you haven’t done your job as a witness. That is not the case. If you have shown yourself friendly and can visually relate to a person that you have something in common it is a great starting point and ice breaker.
Because we usually only have a few minutes with someone and you really want to solidify this chance meeting, you can always reach into your top pocket or your handbag and pull out that gospel tract you have been carrying around for just such an occasion.
It’s about being in the right place at the right time and being prepared with a sack of seed or a watering can.
I would like to leave you with these thoughts from Brennan Manning from his book The Ragamuffin Gospel.
“The ministry of evangelization is an extraordinary opportunity of showing gratitude to Jesus by passing on His gospel of grace to others. However, the “conversion by concussion” method, with one sledgehammer blow of the Bible after another, betrays a basic disrespect for the dignity of the other and is utterly alien to the gospel imperative to bear witness. To evangelize a person is to say to him or her, You, too, are loved by God in the Lord Jesus. And not only to say it but to really think it and relate it to the man or woman so they can sense it. This is what it means to announce the Good News. But that becomes possible only by offering the person your friendship—a friendship that is real, unselfish, without condescension, full of confidence, and profound esteem.”
When all is said and done at the end of the day and you reflect on the days activities Jesus could very well say to you, “well done thou good and faithful servant…” (Matthew 25:21 KJV)