“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:2-6).
The year was 1995 and the setting was 10th grade World History class. “Boring, boring, boring” was all I could think to myself. “I hope the new teacher will at least be easy.” With a first-rate attitude I took my seat on day one and was ready to survive. My outlook quickly improved as an attractive girl sat down in the seat to my right. I had met her in 7th grade but our paths never crossed and we hadn’t exchanged more than a few words. I soon found that her personality and intelligence were commensurate with her looks. A friendship was born.
One day we started a discussion on the subject of world religions which sparked a debate between us. I told her about the Bible and what I believed and where I went to church. We continued the discussion and debated long after the subject ended in the class. My tact was terrible, but I was knowledgeable and convicted in what the Bible said. I must have done something right because a couple months later she asked to join me for worship services. “I’m going to convert and marry this girl;” life could not have been better. One thing led to the next and my Dad baptized her about a year later.
The spread of the gospel was not over at this point because her Mom and Dad and two sisters needed the truth as well. It didn’t start well after they learned of her baptism. They thought we were pulling the family apart. Over the next few years we let our light shine and helped put a hurting family back together. Her younger Sister was the first to show interest, followed by her Mom and older Sister, and lastly her Dad. They were all baptized five years later. Today (17 years later) her Dad is a deacon in the Church alongside her Mom who is the quintessential servant of Christ. Paul said “make the most of every opportunity.” You never know how God can turn a World History class into an opportunity to lead someone to Christ.
Evangelism does not always turn out like this. In fact it usually does not. It is complicated, arduous, and frustrating. We are competing against thousands of religions, Bible interpretations to match any idea or belief, various personalities, human resource rules to keep you quiet at work, and the devil working against you each step of the way (I Pet 5:8). However, through all of these impediments, don’t give up. Proclaim the gospel as much as possible because the person truly looking will jump on those words and it may lead to their salvation (Acts 4:19-20). Find creative ways to turn any discussion towards the Bible. Compliment your proclamation of Jesus with a life governed by his word (Ezra 7:10). This will authenticate the message and passion in which you portray it. Be a steady example of godly living and discipline and pray that God will soften the hearts of the lost (I Cor 9:24-27). One day they might get tired of doing things their way and realize the answer is Jesus.
Make the most of every opportunity and may it never be said of us “you never mentioned him to me.”