11/23/12 Chris, about 35
As Christians we all have continuing relationships with co-workers, friends and family and we hope to share our faith with them in many ways as the Lord leads us. But how can we witness regularly to at least some of the many strangers who cross our path? How much time needs to be spent in developing relationships with them before they might listen to what we have to say about the Lord? How much time does it take to have a meaningful conversation? I stopped for a walk at a park near my house after work on Wednesday where a man named Chris was pushing his newborn baby girl in a stroller. With his permission I asked about his views on life after death which began a wonderful conversation about the Gospel. Like so many people Chris has a works-based view of salvation and I was able to challenge this thinking and interest him in learning more about what a faith relationship with Jesus can look like. Afterward we socialized, talking about the neighborhood, our families, and comparing his job as a paramedic and mine as a high school teacher. We started with the obvious fact that I had an evangelistic agenda, and after that any friendly conversation was just a simple joy with no suspicions of ulterior motives. But what if I had taken the indirect route and tried to use friendly conversation to build up to a deeper spiritual one? I believe it would have been filled with suspicions of a hidden agenda, and in the end he would have been right as he realized that as friendly as I might seem, I was only viewing him as an evangelistic “project” all along. Let’s just be honest. Let’s be clear with people about our motives. You’ll be surprised at how appreciative people will be when we are. After chatting a while with Chris, I ended our conversation with some final challenges about beginning a relationship with Christ and some advice on the spiritual disciplines it takes to follow Him. Chris repeatedly told me how appreciative he was of the entire conversation.