“Stan,” I began, “when you share your faith with someone, do you pre-plan who that’s going to be?”
“You mean like target a specific person?” Stan replied.
“Yeah, that’s it,” I said.
“I do that some times,” Stan responded, “but usually I just follow the example of the apostle Paul.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“At one point on one of his missionary journeys,” Stan replied, “the apostle Paul was in Athens, Greece. He was waiting for Silas and Timothy to join him.”
“Athens was probably a pretty nice place to hang out,” I replied.
“Well, maybe,” Stan said, “but it doesn’t seem like Paul was just hanging out.”
“What was he doing?” I asked.
“He was doing a couple of different things,” Stan responded. “One of them is the example I’m talking about that has a valuable lesson for who I talk to about Jesus, Christianity, my faith, and those sorts of things.”
“Why just one of them?” I replied.
“It says in the Book of Acts that Paul was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles. That doesn’t seem to be part of what God has for me to do.”
“What was the other?” I asked.
“It says the Paul was also in the market place every day reasoning with those who happened to be there. That’s the part that’s an important lesson for me.”
“In what way?”
“Whoever happens to be where I am,” Stan replied. “The ‘whoever’ God puts there, those are the people with whom I’m to share my faith.”
“It’s not up to me,” Stan concluded, “to determine who God may bring before me, but what is up to me is for me to be prepared to present the gospel to whoever might ‘happen’ to be there, knowing that God probably engineered the ‘happen to be there’ part!”
So he (Paul) was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be there. Acts of the Apostles 17:17.
Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to every one who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. 1 Peter 3:15.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the people you bring before me to hear the truth of the gospel. I confess that way too often I am not prepared to witness to those people because I have not prepared and I am reluctant. Please forgive me. And please help me in following your lead so I am prepared and I do present the gospel to each person who just “happens” to be there, knowing that he or she is there because you have brought them. Please help me to help them know the truth as you intend. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Are you prepared to present the truth of the gospel at all times and in all places? Why or why not? Do you believe that God brings people into our lives so that we can help them come to belief, and that they don’t just “happen” to be there? Why or why not? What will it take for you to be prepared to share with others whenever and wherever the opportunity arises? Do you want to be prepared to do that? Do you know how you can be so prepared?