Evangelistic Encounter: 10/11-12/07
As I study at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to hopefully serve Christ in international missions, it is my desire to be a missionary wherever the Lord would have me at this time, specifically at my workplace. As I started my job at UPS about two weeks ago, I was looking for the opportunity to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to my co-workers. Further encouraged by a recent blogpost written by my friend Timmy Brister and a recent sermon on evangelism by Dr. Russell Moore, I have been praying for opportunities to introduce others to faith in Jesus.
Last week, I felt particularly burdened to speak of Christ with my job trainer, as I was working closely with him every night and I knew I would have only limited opportunity to speak with him after my training week. My job trainer, whose name was Ronnie, had told me that he had went to a Catholic church with his grandma when he was younger and had later attended another church with his mom, but when I asked him what he believed about Jesus- who he thought Jesus is, etc., his answers were extremely vague. It seemed like every time I tried to engage Ronnie in more in-depth conversation, our work load would increase, and thus we could no longer converse.
Last Thursday was my last night to work with Ronnie, and I knew it would probably be my last chance to speak to him concerning the message of eternal life. All that week in different conversations with other employees, I had heard Ronnie mention accidents that he knew people had suffered from. I brought this up and then pointed out that eventually we will all have one final accident or final illness or that we will die of old age, etc., and then we will have to face God in judgment. I asked Ronnie if he were standing before God and He asked, "Why should I let you into my heaven?" what would his response be. Ronnie replied that he supposed he would say that he had done the best he could to live right. I then began to talk with Ronnie about God's standard of righteousness in His moral Law reflected in the Ten Commandments. I asked Ronnie if he had ever told a lie, and he said he had.
Just then, break time began and Ronnie went outside to smoke. I followed him part of the way, speaking with him, but then realized that since I am so allergic to cigarette smoke, it would be a bad idea to be around smokers, as I probably wouldn't be able to do my job very well or speak to Ronnie any more if I were sneezing my lungs out.
After break I began talking to Ronnie again. I referred back to Ronnie's statement about telling God that he had done his best. I pointed out that we would all want to say we've done ur best, but if we are honest, we all know that we have lied when we should have told the truth or been angry- even to the point of hatred- when we know we should love everyone. Ronnie added that everyone has disobeyed their parents, and I agreed, also pointing to the fact that we have all used God's name lightly, and that the Ten Commandments say God will not hold anyone guiltless who takes His name in vain. At that point Ronnie started asking about whether all cussing was a sin or only taking God's name in vain. I pointed out that the Bible says, "Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth," and that Jesus said if you call someone a fool you are in danger of hell fire to say that it is not only taking the Lord's name in vain or even cussing that God will judge, but any abusive speech toward Him or others.
At that point the conversation took what I thought to be an interesting turn. Ronnie began to assert that if God wrote the Commandments now that they would be different. I asked why he thought that was. Ronnie brought up the command, "Thou shalt not kill," and asserted that things were more complicated now, with police having to kill to prevent crime and soldiers killing terrorists. I informed him that God himself commanded capital punishment and military killing in the Old Testament and that the command was better translated, "You shall not murder."
As the conversation progressed, it became apparent that the subject of killing was a red herring. The fact is that Ronnie was hoping I would agree with him that God would relax His standard against adultery, as he is living with His girlfriend.
God allowed me the opportunity to tell Ronnie that while we have no hope in our own good works, our hope is in Christ- in His perfect life, His death on the Cross, bearing the wrath of God for all who would believe in Him, and in His resurrection, conquering death and Hell.
I also got to explain some differences between believing facts and in truly trusting one's life- both here and in eternity- to Christ.
Sadly, by that time, it was time to leave, and I didn't have the opportunity to speak with him any more.
The next night, I saw Ronnie briefly in passing and was able to give him a copy of The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper, which he said he would read.
Please pray for Ronnie, that God would use the truth of His Gospel to save his soul from Hell.