Several years ago, I was coordinating and overseeing some minor remodeling at my mother-in-law’s house. I went by to check on the progress after the vinyl siding had been hung, only to discover that the job had not been completed properly. I had to call the installers back three more times before it was finished the way it should have been the first time.
Frustrated by that experience, I made the comment, “You just can’t get good help anymore.” Chances are, you’ve had similar experiences and maybe even said the same thing. I was thinking about the trouble I had when it occurred to me that God might sometimes feel that way about my witnessing, or lack thereof.
How many times have I failed to share a verbal witness of my faith after He had orchestrated a perfect opportunity with the waiter in the restaurant or my neighbor down the street? Am I doing my best to make sure everyone has heard the gospel and had an opportunity to respond? Or, will God need to set up additional opportunities and call me back to complete what I didn’t do the first time?
Like many believers, I try to do good things for neighbors, meet needs in my community, serve through my church and look for ways to bless others. We are expected to live Christ-honoring and selfless lives that captures the attention of others. But that lifestyle should open doors for sharing the gospel. If I don’t give a verbal gospel witness while doing these things, I am failing to properly finish the job.
1 Peter 3:15 implies that we should live our lives in such a way that the curiosity of onlookers will give us an opportunity to share Christ. Our acts of service and ministry to others should be accompanied by an intentional gospel witness.
We see in Acts 5 that the early church was highly regarded for its lifestyle of service and good deeds toward others. But it also obeyed God’s command to give a verbal witness to the gospel message of new life. Only doing good works and serving others is not enough, we must speak the truth.
There’s a popular quote that says, “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.” Deeds and acts of service to others are important and we need to actively live out our faith. But here’s the problem, it’s impossible to preach the gospel without words. After all, they can’t believe on Him in whom they’ve not heard and they can’t hear without someone preaching (Romans 10).
Remember the siding experience at my mother-in-law’s home? I received a follow-up survey from the contractor wanting to know if the siding installation was completed satisfactorily and in a timely manner. I was not able to give a good score on either of those things.
I am embarrassed to admit that there have been times I haven’t given a satisfactory gospel witness in a timely manner the way I’m supposed to. On so many occasions, my witness has fallen short and I never got around to an intentional gospel witness while serving and ministering to others. What about you? Are you doing your part to share the gospel in word and deed so that others can experience the life transforming power of Jesus Christ?
Eric Allen is the missions mobilization team leader for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.