Talking to people of other faiths about your faith in Jesus can be challenging at best and frightening at worst. Sharing the Gospel message is truly like fishing. Some people just seem to know where the fish are, what bait is the best for that time of year and water condition, and what motion to use with the rod to make the bait look “realistic” in the water. Because they are proficient, those true fishermen come back with fish from the outing.
Others of us have a rod and reel. Over the years, we have gathered an assortment of tackle, we have the aspiration to go to the lake or stream to seek to snag the “big one”, but somehow, our efforts are not rewarded as readily. Those of us in this group find our best catch when we order the “big platter” at Catfish King on the way back!
Knowing how to converse with people, a genuine love for people, and respect for the person are ever essential if we hope to win the trust of the hearer enough to draw them into hearing about Jesus. For those that are proficient in the task, it is sheer delight to hear them gain the attention of the person, engage them in dialogue about faith matters, and then listen to them unfold the Gospel so carefully that the hearer “bites” and is caught in the Gospel net flawlessly.
A number of years ago, Dr. Waltke, a seminary professor and three pastors, one of which was Charles Swindoll toured the mother church of the First Church of Christ Scientist in downtown Boston. The four were unknown to the elderly lady who was going to give them a tour. They didn’t tell her who they were, at least not at first. She showed them several interesting things on the main floor. When they got to the pipe organ she began to talk about their doctrine and especially their belief about no judgment in the life beyond.
Dr. Waltke waited for just the right moment & then very casually asked: “But, Ma’am, doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible, ’It is appointed unto man once to die & after that, the judgment’?” The scholar could have quoted Hebrews 9:27 in the Greek, but he was so gracious & tactful. Swindoll confessed he was thinking, “Go for it Bruce. Now we’ve got her where we want her!” Without a pause, the lady simply ask, “Would you like to see the second floor?” Dr. Waltke said, “We surely would, thank you.” She smiled, somewhat relieved, started to lead the men up a flight of stairs.
Swindoll recalled he couldn’t believe it. He was thinking, “No, don’t let her get away. Make her answer your question!” He pulled on the scholar’s arm and said in a low voice, “Hey, why didn’t you nail the lady? Why didn’t you press the point not let her get away until she answered?” Swindoll said he replied, “But, Chuck, that wouldn’t have been fair. That wouldn’t have been very loving, either- now would it?” Swindoll said, “Wham, the quiet rebuke left me reeling. I shall never forget that moment. And to complete the story, you’ll be interested to know that in less than 20 minutes he was sitting with the woman alone, gently speaking to her about the Lord Jesus Christ. She sat in rapt attention. He, the gracious servant, had won a hearing by being kind. (copied). Remember 1 Peter 3:15 – But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.