6/5 15 Eric about 30
A witnessing conversation at a Menards Store with a heavily tattooed young man named Eric reminded me of the huge difference between sharing the Gospel with a complete stranger we likely will never meet again this side of heaven, and sharing it with a family member or friend we have an ongoing relationship with. Both have their benefits and drawbacks and because of this both are crucial to carrying out our Great Commission. Having no relational investment to lose, other than wanting to represent the Gospel well, I was able to quickly get to some rather blunt but essential questions of eternity and belief right away with Eric without fear of losing a long or hard-won friendship. I didn’t have to worry about appearing to be judgmental, controlling, or divisive like a friend or relative might feel. Sure, Eric was hesitant at first, and he tried to dismiss my questions as unimportant, but when he saw that I was truly interested in his answers and willing to listen without forcing my views of him, he really opened up about his beliefs. Eric had rejected his tradition-based church upbringing and even belief in God in general, but the birth two weeks ago of his first child now has him rethinking that rejection. He has attended his wife’s more Bible-based non-denominational church a few times, and his career as a sound technician has recently brought him to the services of several other contemporary churches where he couldn’t help but hear their Bible-based teaching while checking out their sound systems. From our conversation, I could tell that Eric’s wife and her church had won his respect and an open mind, and our conversation, though we were strangers to one another, had allowed him to more clearly see the big picture of the Gospel in a nutshell. I hope and believe that even though I am a stranger, I was a help and provided additional outside support for Eric’s wife and her church. We may have never met, but we are on the same team. The same Holy Spirit works through us all. Maybe even my conversation with Eric was an answer to their prayers!