It wasn’t a great day for a bike ride, but it was better than we have had for quite awhile. Friday late afternoon after my daughter got off work she and her two boys (aged 9 and 6) met me at my house and off we went.
Some rain showers, wild life sightings, and an ice cream stop later we were parked at a local convenience store / gas station to pick up some snacks and drinks when a gentlemen approached the car ….
As we talked I got out of the car and showed him how it attached, described the various features (such as how it could fold down when not in use, and how it tilted out of the way for access to the tailgate), and how easily it could be removed and stored.
I really didn’t try to “sell” him one, but simply showed him what I liked and the features that I didn’t like. After our discussion he asked where he could get one like it.
Later it occurred to me how this encounter was a lot like what Jesus calls us to do in witnessing. Too often we get the idea that being a witness is a full-bore theological attack in which every aspect of faith is to be explored and all the questions answered. We put a great deal of pressure on ourselves that is really not required. (No wonder many have a negative reaction when church leaders talk about witnessing or evangelism!)
Jesus called his 12 apostles with a simple “follow me”. He didn’t expect them to know all there was to know at that point (in fact they understood little). He didn’t ask them for acts of faith that astounded others. He simply asked them to follow. To observe. To learn. They weren’t deeply religious (in fact some like Levi were far from God). They didn’t immediately see Jesus as the Son of God or the Messiah.
- They were interested
- They asked questions
- Jesus showed them things they didn’t know and encouraged questions
- Jesus pointed them in direction of where to learn more
Isn’t that what witnessing is really supposed to be? when someone shows interest we don’t have to drive home every theological point and try to “close the deal”. Like my friend with the bike rack who showed an interest — simply answer the questions, point the benefit(s) I had gotten from the purchase, and point toward a way to learn more if interested.
Scared of witnessing? Maybe you need to just approach it like you were sharing your experience with your favorite gadget.