I walked into work on Wednesday with a few butterflies hanging out in my tummy. Because no matter how many times you’ve done it before and no matter how old you are, sharing your faith with complete strangers is always weird. It’s usually the right thing to do, but it’s weird. Or at least it always feels that way in the beginning.
After reading my latest blog post, my friend Carrie called me and said she’d been feeling the same way about the need to actually get out there with people to share the gospel too. So she asked if I wanted to go to campus on my lunch break sometime this week to try and talk to people. Gulp. Number one rule of writing things that other people see: somehow, by someone, you will be held accountable to live out what you write about. This is also a good reason to write in the first place because it gets you to publicly follow through on some of the deepest desires being cultivated in your heart.
But that morning while sitting at my desk, waiting for Carrie to pick me up at 10:30am, I followed a rabbit hole of thoughts through my mind. “What’s my approach today? What questions should I ask? Should I find a natural way to start a conversation or should I just be up front about it? I didn’t take a shower this morning…should I really be sharing my faith today if I didn’t even take a shower? Am I dressed right? Should I try and look a little more like a college student or is the more mature look the way to go? What’s more relatable? What’s more relevant? I’m not even in college anymore…is this even legal?”
It’s funny how some things never change because I think I’ve had this same conversation with myself many, many times including the first time I ever went witnessing in the dorms my freshman year of college…except back then, each thought was followed by a few more exclamation marks. Truth be told that for the most part, sharing the gospel for me during my freshman and sophomore years, consisted of me standing awkwardly close to my upperclassmen friend Liz or mentor Megan as they knocked on a door and then did the talking. I think I probably watched them engage someone in a spiritual conversation at least twenty-five times before I ever even had the guts to be the one to knock on the door of someone’s room.
Then somewhere along the way, after seeing it modeled so many times, I began to think that I might be able to do what I saw them do. I’m not sure how many times I actually shared the gospel in college. Sometimes I felt pridefully-good about myself when it seemed like I was doing it more than others around me, but in the end, all I wished is that I would have done it way more than I actually did. Because what were the things that got in the way sometimes? Persecution, threats, and scary demonic attacks? No, not really. More like my fear. My schedule. My homework. My laziness. My complacency. My friends. My selfishness. Me, me, ME!
It’s no coincidence that Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” Matthew 9:37-38. It’s so easy to show up to church. But it’s really difficult to work in the harvest field. I knew a guy in college who worked during harvest time on his father’s wheat farm. And leading up to that season he talked about it like he was going off to boot camp. “It’s so hard,” he said. “The days are long and every night when you go to bed you practically collapse because you’re so tired from working all day.” But the Bible says that “There’s a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun” Ecclesiastes 3:1. And there’s a great reward for those who sow spiritual seeds in the name of God because a man will reap what he sows.
So Carrie and I went to campus and after we prayed we walked around and ended up talking to a handful of students. Some wanted to talk and others shut us down almost instantly, but that part is not important. Because you don’t go out to do God’s work in order to produce any specific kind of results. You go because you love God, you love people, and you go because “blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him” Psalm 128:1.
And we both prayed that this convinction would take an even deeper root in our hearts and that it would continue to lead us back to the campus time and time again.