About two years ago I moved my family into an thirty-five foot fifthwheel in an effort to address the church’s need for evangelistic training. Since that day I have been purchasing propane to heat my home, to heat my water and run my oven. Each thirty pound tank lasts about two weeks to a month, depending on how much of the above activities we engage in.
Since first arriving in Anaheim, CA, I’ve been dropping by the same propane supplier for each refill. Over the twenty months I’ve been visiting the same supplier, I’ve been helped by something like five different employees. Two have engaged me in semi-extensive spiritual conversations. I’ve invited both study the Bible with me, but neither have accepted. I continued conversing with them about faith and the Christian lifestyle while they have been filling my propane tanks.
One employee I shared the Searching For Truth DVD gospel presentation with, but was unable to follow up on it since he was called out of the country in response to a family crisis. I have not heard from him since. The other – Julio – I shared Open Bible Study materials with in English and Spanish. My attempt to follow up on these materials were interrupted by various circumstances out of my control and then by my relocation to Topeka this past summer and fall.
Upon returning to Anaheim, I renewed ties with Julio at my first purchase of propane. We had spiritual conversation, but nothing urging study.
Today my purchase of propane provided another opportunity to speak to Julio about the Lord. Today’s conversation consisted similar spiritual content as former conversations have – considering the day a blessing from the Lord, recognizing that God is concerned not just with an outward appearance of faith, but an inward conviction of it. We also spoke about godly partnership in marriage being important to success in it.
As the tanks topped off and our conversation came to a close, I presented Julio with a piece of note pad paper with the following scribbled on it: “Do you know God? Have you obeyed the gospel? How do you obey the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 and 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. Jeff Yost ###-###-####” As I presented it to him I said, “Julio, these are important scriptures to me. As a fellow believer, I’d like to share them with you. Do you have a Bible?” Julio said, “Yes.” I said, “I encourage you to read these passages.” I wish I’d also said, “I’d like to talk about your answers the next time we meet,” but I did not. I do however plan to ask him about them upon our next visit.
That being said, I do not think propane itself is fuel for the soul, though in some cases it has been linked to it 🙂
Who do you have in your life, whom you see on some sort of regular basis – daily, weekly, monthly, etc.? Be intentional about introducing God into your conversations with them, no matter how brief your encounters may be, or how shallow your conversations have been in the past. In your interaction with others, give God the credit for the day, your health or the wealth it takes to fill your tank and buy coffee every day. Ask them if they are a believer. Ask them how they became one or why they choose not to believe. Share a scripture from your day’s Bible reading and tell them what it means to you. Give them a Scripture written on a piece of paper with a question scribbled next to it. Ask them to read it and share their answer with you the next time you see each other. Or come right out and begin to share with them, in what time you have in each encounter, the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Evangelism is often not a one shot encounter. It happens over a period exposures between two people. Exposure itself does not accomplish evangelism though. The term evangelism as it is used in Christianity implies a sharing of good news, the good news of Jesus Christ.
Ask the Lord to show you just how much He can do with the brief encounters you have with people as you are out and about in your community.
My prayer for you in sharing the gospel is that God grant you bold and effective words, a bold spirit and open doors for His word. I pray that God’s word spread rapidly and be glorified through you. Also that God protect you from any who would oppose your message.