A Buddhist, a Unitarian and a Methodist walk into a Restaurant…
This sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it’s no joke. It’s the opportunity and commission we are called to by the Father each and every day. Is God a part of your life or is God your life? Does he infiltrate every area of your life? Does that include your work or campus? I hope so. Lives are depending on it!
My college background is in Youth Ministry. I have a 4 year degree with a Minor in Counseling. I am proud of it. I chose it because I love working with students who are at risk as well as those looking for the truth. God has given me a drive to offer them the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ. However I have not worked in full time paid Youth Ministry for well over a 2 years and I have no regrets. I certainly miss some aspects of that type of calling and maybe one day I will be called back. For now God is leading me down a different path. More on that some other time.
For now I have a very humbling, mundane, run of the mill, yet respectable part time job. I am working at a fast food restaurant. It’s not something I brag about, and yet it has been such a great opportunity to share my faith to so many people from so many different backgrounds, beliefs and experiences.
While I do not allow it to interfere with my work because that would not honor God, I have talked with co-workers ranging from 15 to 50 about issues of faith. Here are a few great people I work with. *Amy is a young lady who wants to go to college and whose step dad is just a few years older than she is. That is an issue for her. *Tony is one whose parents are divorced and has had trouble with staying out of trouble with the law in recent times. He considers himself a Christian but doesn’t seem to know how that is supposed to make a difference in his life. *Hannah is a high school grad that lives with her boyfriend has had some significant losses in her life and trying to figure out what to believe. *Becka has a young child and is trying get into college to make a better life for them both. *Greg is a cultural Buddhist however knows little about Buddhism. He is hope to talking about Jesus. *Sam attends church periodically and genuinely seems to want to please God but doesn’t have “time” to do so. *Lynn is open about her past addictions and current struggles and attends a church that is open to all religions and beliefs. *Toby is a Wiccan and a homosexual who I hope get to know better o I can bring up Christ with him. These are only a few I have spoken to in my time there. They are all people God loves and values, and although I cannot see their hearts, I would venture that they are not believers as the Bible would define “Christian”, but I hope that I can be part of the chain in that process. I care about these people and pray for them. I consider it a privilege to know them. I also care about them enough to give them the truth as presented in the Bible, in the most gracious way. They deserve no less. You have the opportunity to do this as well.
Here are 4 simple suggestions that build on one another.
- One: Love them. Let God break your heart for them. Ask God to allow you to see them as he does. Without this you will not get far. Please remember no one wants to be your spiritual mission’s project. Never strong arm them. Be available. You need to be genuinely interested in them. Ask God to open doors right where you are and he will.
- Two: Listen to their story. Each person has a story to tell. Before you go in and tell the how you have all the answers be sure they are asking the questions. You will lose them if you do not earn the right to be heard. When the time is appropriate share your story as they have shared theirs. Speak to their need and the love of Jesus. However without listening you will never be able to speak specifically to their need.
- Three: Learning. Yes you will have answers for them in many areas however concerning the areas that you do not have answers for, admit it. This does not mean that there are not answers and hope to be had; you simply need time to look into it. Take specific questions they have, objections if you will and do some research. Do you know much about their spiritual backgrounds? What if they are Hindu? Muslim? Mormon? Buddhist? You need to be informed to proceed further.
- Four: Lead them. Eventually you will have spent considerable time and had significant conversations with your friends and will need to lead them to the crux of the matter. Jesus. In Matthew 16:13 Jesus asks the Disciples, “Who do the people say that the Son of Man is?” Who Jesus is the most important question we will ever wrestle with. What we do with that answer is the biggest choice we will ever make. One Question and one Choice. This is what we must lovingly move our friends to.
I may not be in a paid full time ministry position; however I am in full time ministry for God. You can be too. There are many Christians who seem to think that if they are not working in a church that they are somehow second class citizens. I don’t know what you may be doing but God has you on the Mission Field! Go reap a harvest right where God has placed you!
Keep the Faith and Give it Away
ENCOURAGEMENT FROM THE WORD
15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)
37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” Matthew 9:37-38 (NLT)
11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”
12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” 14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” Romans 10:11-15 (NLT)