If you have a memorable vacation, how hard is it to tell your coworkers about it? If you get a great deal on a car, how difficult is it to explain that to your family members? If you find a terrific contractor to build your deck, how reluctant are you to give the details the next time you have friends over? Not too difficult, is it?
But for some reason, telling people about Jesus causes us to lock up. Maybe we are under the impression we have to know a lot of theology first. Not necessarily. Do you have to be a mechanic to explain how you bought your car? Of course not. Or perhaps we think someone has to understand all the intricate details of our faith before they can embrace it. That’s not true either.
One of the key elements in communicating the gospel to others is telling our own story, our testimony. In Deuteronomy, of all places, Moses gives an outline to the Israelites of what to include in their story.
“Then you shall say to your son: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand; and the LORD showed signs and wonders before our eyes, great and severe, against Egypt, Pharaoh, and all his household. Then He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in, to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers. And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day.” Deuteronomy 6:21-24
Here are the major points.
1. We were slaves. – Begin with what life was like before Jesus. What was missing? What was worse?
2. The LORD brought us out. – Jesus changed all that.
3. The LORD showed signs and wonders. – Jesus has done these amazing things in my life.
4. God is giving us the land. – God has given me eternal life and the promise of His presence.
5. The LORD commanded us to observe. – So now I live my life following Him and honoring Him.
After telling your story, then it’s a matter of inviting your listener to start a story of their own.
Think about the contractor example. “I wanted a deck and I knew I couldn’t build it myself. So we did some searching and we found Dave. He was just what we were looking for. He does great work and his rates weren’t outrageous. We use the deck all the time. In fact, I bet he could do that addition you’ve been talking about.”
We sail through that easily and naturally. I had a need. Here’s how that need was met. You might get your needs met too.
I’ve followed Jesus since I was a kid, but even then I knew I couldn’t be good enough and that something was missing. If it weren’t for His presence and help I’m not sure I would have made it through some of the hard times. Doing things His way, trying to live by His word and His example, I have peace and I know I’m not at the mercy of the random universe. If you’re looking for that same kind of peace and purpose, you should consider what Jesus said. I’d be glad to tell you more.
That’s really all there is to it. Granted, a greater percentage of people will not want to hear any more, but that okay. We are never held responsible for what results from telling our story, only our faithfulness in telling it.
Use Moses’s tips and tell your story, the one about then and now, about Jesus and you. The world needs to hear it.