Friday, January 07, 2005

WITNESS - It's ours to lose!

BACKYARD CHRISTIANITY [2 Samuel 16:7; other topics - Carnality; Sin; Transparency; Walk; World]

Pilots will understand when I say that Christian lives are often like the disparity between the front and backyards of many California homes.

On bright sunshiny days, when you’re blessed to be dancing with the clouds, you’ll be amazed to see the stark difference between the front and backyards of numerous homes.

You’ll see beautiful lush, green, landscaped front yards, one after another, like a Irish giant’s checkerboard quilt, but every third backyard or so will be Sahara-brown, weed-covered and trash-littered. It may be difficult for us to see a man’s backyard but a pilot has no trouble.

Likewise, the soul and spirit of a man is as hidden from other men, as his backyard is hidden from the passerby. It may be impossible for one man to see the inner reality of another, but from God’s perspective, it’s no trouble at all.

FOR APPEARANCE SAKE [Matthew 10:24-33; other topics - Easter, Fear-Fearlessness]

Today we all know about computers; even in the most undeveloped nations on earth, great numbers of people know about computers. Yet, many folks, are scared to death of them.

Take a kid who’s never seen a computer into a room with one, leave him alone for a couple of days, come back later and you’ll be amazed at what he’s learned on his own. On the other hand, leave a grown up and you’ll have a nervous wreck in two hours. What’s the difference?

In the case of the former, there is no fear. It may be an unknown to them but they are filled with a fearless “can-do” attitude. The later are filled with terror, not of the machine, not of the software, or the firmware, or the hardware ... no, none of these. What then?

It’s the fear of failure and the fear of embarrassment; the fear that they might somehow look bad to others, that they might somehow seem to be foolish or worse, stupid!

Every year Easter brings this human quirk home to me; for this season of the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension ought to cause all believers to witness for Jesus. But they don’t! Why?

Consider for a moment the differences between the kids and the adults above: youth brings a kind of fearlessness which says, “I don’t care what other people think, I’ve gotta do this!” Age, on the other hand, brings with it a deep concern for appearances. Doesn’t it? We get all hung up on what others might think.

RED DOT WITNESS [Matthew 28:18-20; Atonement, Blood, Sacrifice]

Sandi Martin is a critical-care nurse who has a red dot on the face of her wristwatch. In hospitals people are very conscious of blood-borne disease, many patient’s and staff assume blood has splashed onto her watch.

However, when asked, Martin’s quick response has always been, “... don’t worry; this blood is 2,000 years old. This dot reminds me of Jesus, who paid for my eternal salvation with his own blood.” Most respond with a smile and nod while gazing at the dot.

Witnessing is so simply many times. People are not offended so often by our attempts to share Christ as they are by the way in which Christ is shared. If what Jesus has done for you, means something to you, then tell people what it means to you. Follow that up with what He will mean to them.

I don’t recommend witnessing gimmicks, but a gimmick such as Nurse Martin’s, when based on a personal truth, will bear much fruit.

[Adapted from “Red dot on wristwatch opens doors for witness,” by Barbara Denman; Baptist Press, 4/14/99]

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