Matthew 28: 19-20
My boss Dave and I were in a foursome at our high-tech company's golf outing. He and I shared a cart. While the other pair took their cart to the other side of the fairway to find a lost ball, we had a couple of minutes alone.
Suddenly, Dave turned to me and asked, "You know those signs at sporting events, such as behind the goal posts in football, that say John 3: 16? What does that mean?"
I caught my breath. I'm not one for proselytizing at work, yet my colleagues knew I was a devoted Christian. They knew from conversations about the upcoming weekend that I went to church every Sunday. They knew from my stories that I volunteered with church youth. They saw my Christian ethics in the way I treated people at work. A few people of other religions would ask me details about Christian beliefs. But never had I been presented such a direct opportunity to share the Gospel at work - and with my boss!
I answered his question by quoting the verse: "God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." He asked what it meant, and I gave a brief explanation. By that time, our playing partners had caught up to us, and we went on with our round.
Dave never asked further. Neither did I ask him if he needed more information. I figured that if he needed anything, he knew he could come to me.
Two years later, Dave disappeared suddenly from work. No one in management was talking, but then came the awful truth: Stage 4 melanoma. Within weeks, Dave had passed away, leaving his wife and a young daughter.
At his funeral, I was heartened when the priest said that Dave had returned to his Catholic roots in the last couple of years. He had become active and was serving in his church. The priest said Dave had the assurance of salvation as he renewed his faith in God, which served him well in his final days.
I don't know how much our little conversation affected him or informed him. I'm just grateful that I served a small role in whatever was going on with Dave's spirit.
Jesus told us in The Great Commission (Matthew 28: 19-20) to make disciples everywhere:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
When we think of evangelism, we think of big evangelism campaigns. We think of witnessing in the streets. We think of shepherding someone with deep one-on-one discussions. We think of the noble goals of missionaries.
But there's another, just-as-valid, just-as-needed way to practice evangelism, by remembering, "You may be the only Bible someone ever reads." It's a frightening thought! But if you live according to scriptural principles, then you are presenting the Bible to others, you are "reading" it to them, as they see the way you practice and apply your faith to life experiences. It can be a powerful witness as well, especially when someone looks at the way you practice your faith seven days a week and decides, "I want whatever it is they have."
Be prepared, because if you live this way, sometime you may be called upon to step forward, to explain your faith or provide a key answer to a faith question that has been troubling a person, or simply to live one more faithful example in front of them. It might happen anywhere - even in a golf cart.
Speaking of Stage 4 melanoma, typically I use this space to promote Cecil Taylor Ministries. Today I want to promote another Christian ministry, Stronghold Ministry, which provides spiritual support and comfort to cancer patients, caretakers and others in crisis. Co-founder Joe Fornear miraculously survived Stage 4 melanoma and started this ministry in response. Learn more about their ministry and their free gift basket at https://www.mystronghold.org/.