Season to Sow
Plant seeds of the gospel in the soil God has prepared.
by Lorie Looney Keene
I have often been asked by well-meaning women, “How can I share my faith in a natural setting?” Typically, this question arises after we have spoken across a coffee table or discussed a shared prayer request for a lost family member or friend. Once they have prayed about and discussed a scenario concerning someone they know and love, it’s not unusual for someone to say, “I wish I could be more evangelistic toward people I don’t know.” This is when the word natural seems to find its way into the conversation. I always laugh because I can’t think of anything more unnatural than sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with someone! In order to be true to Scripture, the gospel must begin by helping someone realize that he or she is a sinner and in need of a Savior. Therefore, we’re more likely to feel unnatural, or even uncomfortable, in this process. Rather than give you a litany of questions, comments, and memorable quotes about how to share your faith, I would like to, instead, share with you some experiences of my own, both positive and negative.
Be Led by God and Not Guilt
As females, we’re professionals at acquiring what I like to call “the guilt complex.” Just by hearing a mild comment or suggestion, we may begin to feel inadequate as a mother, wife, student, friend, or any other role we fill in life. Evangelism isn’t immune to this response. Therefore, I caution you not to share your faith out of guilt. I have fallen prey to such a trap as I would like to share with you.
One evening while in seminary, a friend of mine and I drove to get ice cream. Lisa, my friend, noticed a man walking along the side of the road. She immediately turned to me and said, “We need to pick him up. This may be a chance to help him.” I instantly refused. However, after many moments of her pleading, I caved. Naively, I believed we would be safe since there were two of us. We pulled over and the gentlemen slid into our back seat and stated that he was heading to the hospital to visit someone. Having watched far too many crime shows, I became nervous. Then I remembered one of the shows telling viewers that when kidnapped or high-jacked, you have a much higher chance of survival if you talk and build a relationship with the perpetrator.
Needless to say, the conversation began flowing! I asked him everything under the sun, including whether or not he had a relationship with Jesus Christ. When he said no I shared the gospel so fast that I am confident he understood nothing I said. By the time he got out of my car at the hospital, I’m not sure which one of us was scared more. I watched him walk away, obviously more confused than he was upon entering my car. From this experience, I promised myself two things: 1) I will never pick up a hitchhiker again, and 2) I will never create a false environment to share my faith out of guilt.
Seek Spiritual Sight
An important aspect of sowing the gospel naturally into the lives of those around us requires that we first acquire spiritual sight. Before I put on my contacts each morning, I fumble around the room using my out-stretched hands as my guides. Without corrective lenses, I would most assuredly bump into things. Just as my physical sight is impeded without the help of appropriate aid, my spiritual sight remains blurred until I access clarity through prayer.
Scripture assures us that God is at work (see John 5:17). Daily, God is drawing people to Himself through His Word, circumstances, and other people. However, we will stumble past these works in progress unless our vision has been sharpened through prayer. Taking the time each morning to ask the Lord to show us where He’s already at work will help open our eyes to circumstances in which we can share our faith. God is already moving in the lives of people. We simply have the joy of sharing in the action. This can be as simple as looking around your daily list of activities and noting who normally walks across your path.
For example, let me introduce you to my former neighbor, Laura. When I first moved into my apartment, Laura met me on the staircase with her eyes fixed upon my stereo in a disapproving glance. Her first words were, “I have really enjoyed the quietness around here.” After which she looked directly in my eyes to ensure that I understood her meaning. That evening, I baked three dozen cookies and left them at the doorstep of all my new neighbors with a note introducing myself. From that point on, Laura was much friendlier to me.
The Lord kept Laura on my heart over the next several months. On any typical day, I would see Laura jogging around the neighborhood by herself. One afternoon I pulled into the lot and rushed out of my car toward my apartment with a thousand to-do lists swirling around in my head. In the midst of the nagging list, I heard God simply say, Go talk to her. Within minutes I heard her call my name and turned to see her walking behind me. As we talked, I realized that she lives alone and carried the weight of the world on her shoulders. She shared some of her fears about being able to financially survive and her loneliness. I asked her if she went to church anywhere. She didn’t. I shared with her about my church and invited her to attend with me sometime. This opened the door for several future conversations.
Situations such as this occur regularly, not only in my life, but in the lives of those who simply stop to pray and ask the Lord to grant spiritual sight to see He’s at work. The only requirements to share your faith naturally is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a desire to share Him with others. When we ask God to show us where He’s moving, we will begin to see opportunities to sow seeds of the gospel as we go about our daily lives.
Lorie L. Keene has written for Lifeway’s Journey devotional for women and other Christian publications. Originally from Alabama, Lorie and her husband, Stephen, and their two children, now make their home in Tullahoma, Tenn.
This article originally appeared in HomeLife magazine (September 2016). For more articles like this, subscribe to HomeLife.