Answer 2: The Spirit sends believers into people’s lives to be a witness.
“You’re a pastor? I’ve never talked to one before. What’s your favourite Bible verse?”
If ever there was an open invitation to talk about Jesus with someone, this was it. I went to a friend’s birthday celebration on the weekend only to find that everyone I knew who had said they were coming had pulled out at the last minute. I quietly milled around the 30-odd strangers as we waited to be seated at the restaurant and exchanged greetings with strangers. People seemed interested in talking with the birthday girl and her husband or catching up with people they hadn’t seen in a while, so few offered more than a brief hello and goodbye before moving on to someone they recognised.
“Okay Lord,” I silently prayed, “I don’t know anyone here and I’m not the best at making new friends. But if you have arranged a divine appointment for me tonight, I am ready to obey. Please make it clear to me if there’s someone here you want me to talk to.”
As I finished talking to God the waiters finally finished setting the many tables they had pulled together to accommodate such a large group and told us to take a seat. I ended up at the very end of the L formation of tables, away from most of the people, where it looked like I was going to miss out on most of the chatting. But then along came Henry, another party-goer who hadn’t been fast enough to grab a prime seat and ended up at the end of the table, next to me.
“Is this him, Lord?” I asked. There was no discernible confirmation from the Holy Spirit, but I decided to take a step of faith and see where God would lead the conversation.
“I’m a train driver,” Henry said. I asked about his life and he talked about the year-long course he took with the department of transportation, the cultural differences between Australia and his family’s home country, how his marriage had changed him and many other things. We found out we shared a hobby and talked about that for a while.
Henry was interesting, fun and enjoyed getting to know me. I had shown him that I was genuinely interested in him, and so it was only natural for him to ask about my life. He asked about my girlfriend, about my family, and about my job. When I mentioned I met my girlfriend at church he said that was lovely, and moved on. When I told him that my parents were missionaries he was fascinated and asked about the countries they had been to, but made no mention of anything spiritual. When he asked what I did for a living, I quietly asked God, “Would you please take control of this conversation and speak to Henry’s heart through me.” Then I told him I’m a pastor.
Henry was very interested and said that he grew up going to church “only on the big days like Christmas and Easter.” Then he asked about my favourite verse. “This is your opportunity to be a witness for Jesus,” the Spirit seemed to say. So I pulled out my phone and opened up Ephesians 2:1-9 with him. We spent almost an hour looking at those verses, talking about what it meant to be dead in sin, what a ‘child of wrath’ was, the justice of punishing sin, the love with which God gave Jesus, the reality of grace, unity with Christ, and many other things that come up in that passage. Henry said that he had never thought much about these things, but that he now understood how important they are.
I could see that he was taking this seriously, so I took another step of faith and said, “Henry, sin and Hell aren’t just important things to think about. They’re things that impact you. You have sin, and there is a penalty for it. The only ways to pay the penalty are to take Jesus up on His offer to cover your sin for you, or to pay it yourself. I encourage you to consider the state of your soul.”
Henry seemed troubled and thanked me for making it clear to him. He said that he would think about it, and asked if I would like to catch up some time. We exchanged contact details and moved onto other things. The party ended and we parted ways.
Henry is on a spiritual journey. When we catch up we will no doubt talk about our shared hobby as well as all the other things you talk about when you are getting to know someone. But in addition to all that, I will be a witness for Jesus in my words and actions, just like I was at that restaurant over the weekend.
Who’s life is God sending you into? Our days are full of divine appointments that God has set up to give us the chance to speak the gospel into. Learn to look for the Holy Spirit’s prompting throughout the day. Pray and ask Him to help you notice when He gives you an opportunity. Sometimes you will find that people are eager to hear what you have to say about the most important Person in your life. Other times you may find that people don’t want to talk about it. But at all times you will find that God has called you to be a witness, and wherever you go you are sent by the Holy Spirit into the lives of others to help them take the next step in their journey towards Jesus.