For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God. 2 Corinthians 2:15-17
There is, perhaps, no better way to introduce the Lordship of Christ to others than to model His character to others. When we are distinctive and interesting, living a life above reproach with love and care to others, we are beacons of hope to the lost, even if they will not admit it publicly. When we earn their attention and respect (which takes an investment of time), then we can invite friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. to our home for dinner or something personal. Later, we can invite them to a church program. Getting to know people is essential, as we are called to be salt and light. Salt and light are penetrating, not elusive. So, let us meet the call, snub the elusiveness, break out of our fears and resentment, and follow our Lord. Then, we can be effective witnesses without even opening our mouths, and even more so when we do tell others about Jesus because they have already seen Him at work in us.
The above principles for building relationships are key to our witness. They translate into what many call "lifestyle evangelism." That is, instead of a direct approach to witnessing, our lives are modeled as a "show case" of God's work in us. In this way, we show others how the Lord works by our actions and character; our lives become contagious and attractive so that people will want to know more about us and thus will get to know more about Him through us. Others will ask us about the Lord or what is different about us before we even get a chance to ask them if they would like to know more about Jesus. How do we do this? Just by knowing and growing in Him, and allowing the Lord's transforming work in us. It is all about the Fruit of the Spirit-His work in us coming out through us!
What About Witnessing At Work?
You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to. 1 Corinthians 7:23-24
Your workplace is perhaps your most effective outreach opportunity. You may not be able to verbally share the gospel, nor should you on work time, but you can be a Christ-like example so others will seek you out and ask you what makes you different. Your character will help you stand out, just as we have stated earlier in this book. Take your opportunities to share seriously, but not on work time. Build the relationships, take someone to lunch, meet him or her after work, and go to a social, church, community, or work event and talk there. The key is the attitude we are to have that looks to Christ as our employer so we do our work for Him. Therefore, we are to be our best for His glory, regardless of our circumstances so we, in turn, can respond with a good work ethic.
We must adjust our mindsets to see work as an opportunity to please Him, and in so doing, be a blessing to those around us. We are not hired to witness unless we are paid Christian workers. Allow your good, caring attitude to become contagious and make you stand out, thus inviting opportunities. It will also lead to persecution from those with less than nice mindsets. But the main thing is that people will see Christ through you in the workplace-either as modeling a God to come to, or one from whom to be repelled. How do people at work see Christ through you? Remember, a Christ-like attitude, and the "Fruit of the Spirit," along with sensibleness, self-control, and cooperation, are to be lived. Seek to emulate His character and you will excel. Seek yourself and proselytize on work time and you will repel the people you were called to reach!
Questions to Ponder
1. Who and what do people see in you? When you share about the Lord to someone, what is that person seeing in you? Your character? Your fruit?
2. How do passion, conviction, clarity, compassion, love, and truth come from you when you proclaim Christ? How should they?
3. How do you feel about the fact that when you are witnessing, you are, in fact, saying, "Would you like to be like me?" So, are you a good "me"? Are you the person others should strive to be like? Be honest!
4. Does knowing that the Word (John 1:1-14) is cross-cultural and cuts through all languages, people groups, and time give you greater assurance and faith to be a witness?
5. Go over the various witnessing plans from Andrew, Philip, and the others, and then come up with your own plan. Practice it, refine it, and commit to it!
6. What is in the way of your becoming an effective witness? How can and how will you deal with or remove the obstacles?
7. Make a list of people and be an Andrew to others. When and where will you do this first?
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:5
Some passages to consider: Proverbs 15:30; Jeremiah 33:3; Matthew 18:19; John 1:1-14; 1:40-42; Acts 8:12, 26-40; 1 Corinthians 1:27; 2:4-5; 3:6; 7:23; 9:19-23; 2 Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3: 22-25, 28; 4:5
© 2006, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org