Early on in my ministry, I served as pastor of a small country church in Ohio. One Sunday morning in the middle of June about 15 minutes before church started, the neighbor started mowing his lawn. For most churches, this would not be a big deal, but our little church sat right next to the neighbor’s house and we actually had the windows open in order to get some fresh air. As you may have guessed we didn’t have central air conditioning and the window unit air conditioners had not been installed yet.
This chain of events presented a unique dilemma for me. As 15 minutes turned into 10 and then 5 I was getting more and more agitated. I’m thinking…..doesn’t he know that we have a church service starting? Can’t he see all the cars parked around the church? Doesn’t he realize how loud he is? Why doesn’t he mow later?
In my frustration, I was actually getting ready to go out and “gently” ask the neighbor to stop mowing. Admittedly, not the wisest approach, but in the moment, that was my plan. Thankfully, as I was on my way out, I realized that he had finished mowing beside the church and had moved on to another area of his yard and it was much quieter now. I breathed a sigh of relief and our service went on as planned.
I am thankful that there were no major blowups and that the local news media were not called in. (Can you imagine the headlines: “Pastor blows a gasket with neighbor right before church!”) But I am saddened and grieved by how I handled the situation. I was more concerned about our church service than I was about my neighbor. Looking back, I wish I had been more intentional about connecting with this gentleman. From my few interactions with him, he was a nice guy, but clearly an unsaved guy. He didn’t know Jesus as his Savior. Today I prayed for his salvation.
The good news is that the Lord gives us many opportunities to share our Christian faith. Maybe like me, you have missed opportunities to share Jesus, but many more opportunities await you. Evangelism starts with treasuring Jesus above all else. When we see what a great Savior and a great salvation we have, we are going to want to share that with others.
Next, we must capitalize on the opportunities God gives us to witness. If we don’t believe that apart from Christ people will die in their sins (John 8:21,24) and go to hell then there won’t be any incentive to share the gospel. But if we do believe what the Bible clearly teaches, then we will have that desire to witness and tell others that there is hope in Christ.
What about you? Are you concerned about friends and neighbors and co-workers and family members in your life who don’t know Jesus?
We serve a God who is mighty to save and these dear people need to be born again. But you have a critical role to play (Romans 10:13-17). Don’t just keep your mouth shut. Tell them the marvelous news that God has made a way for sinners to be reconciled to himself (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). Tell them that salvation is not of works (Ephesians 2:9) but is fully and completely of grace and through faith in Jesus Christ. This is news worth sharing!
Colossians 4:2-4: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open for us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison – that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.”