Tonight's devotional is going to be one of my more difficult ones to write. I hope you find this story encouraging.
I am going to take you back to my college days when I went to Texas Tech. My roommate and I had a lawn business here in Garland that we wanted to keep going to help pay for our school and apartment there at Tech. We were poor, but we could justify buying 17 airline tickets that summer for that fall semester. So on Friday nights we would leave school and head to the airport. About 45 minutes later we had landed in Dallas and were headed home for the evening. I would spend time with Wendy that late evening, and then go to bed so I could get up a 5:00 a.m. to start mowing by 5:30. I would have to go to different houses each weekend because the neighbors would always come out and cuss at me for waking them up with all the noise. I would apologize, and then begin to tell them why I was there so early. They usually would quit screaming at me at this point.
So after mowing about 16 houses my friend and I decided to take a lunch break. We started talking about church and Young Life. He told me after a few minutes of our conversation that if he died today he knew he would go to Hell. I said, why would you say that? He just said because he didn't go to church, nor did he really care too. What I didn't tell him was when I was at a Young Life retreat in Colorado at 16, I had asked Jesus to come to my heart. For some reason I did not share that with him. Maybe I was embarrassed to talk about my salvation experience. Maybe I thought he would make fun of me. Maybe he would say you're no different from me. All I knew is I didn't say anything to him besides your not going to hell.
I'm going to fast forward to that December. My other roommate and I decided we would not go back to Tech that next semester. He wanted to go to another school more for what his degree was for, but I wanted to be back home so I could continue building my business, see Wendy every day, and go to school at A&M Commerce. Well, when I broke the news to my other roommate who I had flown together each weekend, who I got along great with, he was very upset with us both. I was sitting in a chair watching TV. when all of a sudden he came over to me, grabbed the bottom of my chair, and threw me out of it. Well that obviously made me upset, but I didn't do anything. I guess because I knew he felt betrayed, he had to find new roommates, and his best friends were leaving him.
Months had gone by where I did not speak to him. I believe it was close to a year in fact. He had found new friends, roommates, and unfortunately drugs and alcohol. I heard he had being doing drugs and alcohol since I had left. Well it was Thanksgiving break and he had come home. He went out with a few friends that evening to a bar. He left the bar and was followed by some men in another car onto Interstate 35. The men pulled up next them in the car and shot six bullets. One of them hit my friend in the head where he collapsed onto his brother's lap. The men drove off and were never seen again. I got a phone call the next afternoon from his brother that he had been killed. I remember the pain in his brother voice as he was telling me what had happened. The only thing that was going on in my head was my conversation with him while we were eating lunch. I don't know if he ever asked Jesus in his life. I can only assume by his lifestyle that he had not. Maybe he did as a child, but I have no idea.
I tell you this story for several reasons. I think many of us, including myself, at times find it hard to share Christ. It's not that we're ashamed of Christ, but it just seems at times to be awkward timing. I mean if we're at church it's not a big deal, right? Have you ever thought about how many opportunities you have had to share Christ at church?
I'm going on a limb here, but I'm guessing possibly never, or maybe a few times. See Jesus said, Mathew 9:37, " The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few". Do you see the harvest in the church? Well if we did and we feel most comfortable sharing Christ in church, why aren't people getting to share Christ in the church? The harvest is not in the church. We have to go out and be willing to be a laborer. That is how we reach lost souls for Christ!
You may be saying to yourself, "I can't do that; I don't understand the scriptures, I don't speak well, I don't know what to say." I love this verse because God knew you and I would make these excuses. Luke 12:11-12 "And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rule and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say. All through the bible it talks about how man has always had a difficult time sharing Christ. Jesus knew and knows today we could get persecuted, or even killed, for sharing our faith. Matthew 5: 11-12 Talks about the rewards in heaven for having the courage to do it.
My final point is this; Success in evangelism is measured not in the outcome, but in your obedience to the command of Christ.
Jesus last commandment : Mathew 28:18-20, I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: ( this is my favorite part) verse 20: And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."