"I can't wait until this Saturday when the Outreach Team goes out door-to-door," Brian said to Mike as they dressed in the locker room at their gym.
A grin came over Mike's face and he replied,"Yeah I know what you mean. It really feels good telling others about Jesus. It's like I'm on the front lines and I feel like I'm doing just what God wants me to do."
"I've already got my script all written out," Brian went on. "I know just what I'm going to say if somebody says they're not interested, or if they say they've got plenty of time to think about Jesus later."
A new Christian, Brian has worked in commission-only sales for several years, including insurance and used cars. He has become well-accustomed to hearing objections from others.
Mike raised an eyebrow as Brian continued, "Yeah, I've got a rebuttal for just about everything - and I have all but three of them down pat. Do you want to hear what I've got?"
Shaking his head and smiling, Mike attempted to set him straight. "Brian, the purpose of our going out this weekend isn't to sell somebody an SUV. We're called to fulfill the Great Commission by telling others about Jesus. Sales techniques might work if you're trying to get somebody to hand over their money, but we have to take a softer approach if we expect anyone to make a genuine decision to accept Jesus into their life."
Brian seemed interested, and even enlightened at Mike's words. As the two men tied their shoes, Mike explained further, "The best way to think about it is how Jesus himself put it. Here let me show you."
He reached in his gym bag and pulled out his dog-eared NIV Bible. Turning to Mark 1:17, he read, "''Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will make you fishers of men.'' We can't hunt down nonbelievers by force and bag them with a spear. God wants us to use our words as a gentle lure to the unsaved.
"Just as his disciples couldn't jump into the water and force fish into their net, you can't force anyone to accept Christ, no matter how many rebuttals you have in your arsenal. It's up to the Holy Spirit to convict a person of sin, and lead him or her to Christ. We're the fisherman, called to cast the net, but the Holy Spirit is the motivating factor as to whether or not the fish come into the net."
"You know, I never looked at it that way," Brian said. "I guess with all my years of selling for a living, I was looking at witnessing as just another sales call."
Laughing, Mike replied, "That's understandable. Old habits die hard. Oh, there's another key you need to keep in mind. Let me see if I can find where Paul talks about planting and watering."
He flipped pages until he found 1 Corinthians 3:7-8, and again read to Brian. "'So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.'
"Our job may be only to plant the seed of the gospel in someone's life. It may take months or years of watering by a number of other people before any fruit comes from it and that person accepts Jesus. So don't get discouraged if it appears you have failed after you share Christ with someone. God is ultimately in charge of the outcome. We're called to share the gospel, not necessarily see the harvest."
"You know Mike, you've taught me a lot here in just a couple of minutes," Brian said as the two started toward the door. "I'm going to have a whole different approach when I go out with the Outreach Team this weekend."
"Good, I'm glad!" Mike said. After a pause he continued, "But I wasn't the one who did the teaching. It was the Holy Spirit using my words to teach you."
"Yeah, I realize that now," Brian said with a smile as they stepped out into the bright afternoon sun.