Ginger shares some simple ways to share Christ wherever the Military sends us, as we continue our Monday Minute discussion on growing together to spread the Gospel.
Simple Ways to Share Christ Wherever the Military Sends You
by Ginger Harrington
She was not the friendliest woman in my new neighborhood.
Our kids played roller hockey in the street in front of our houses, so we began chatting as the boys raced around on skates. Her conversation often began and ended with a complaint of some kind. “Oh great,” I muttered to myself, making a negative judgment about what kind of friend she would be with her prickly demeanor.
I would smile and nod, offering some kind of commiserating comment. The movers broke too many items, the orders were late, her son wasn’t adjusting to the new school, or her husband was gone too much. . .
Every conversation revolved around a gripe. The constant change of military life had been hard on Anna and complaining had become her go-to coping strategy. She was sick of military life and it oozed out of her conversations like oil drips onto pavement under a parked car.
The thought of sharing the gospel directly didn’t seem like it would be very effective with my new neighbor.
One day I took a risk, casually inviting her to join a neighborhood Bible study. She shut me down quick with a terse, “Why would I want to do that? I don’t have any need to study the Bible.”
“No problem, just thought I’d see if you were interested,” I replied, turning the conversation to another topic. A safer topic.
Concerned for this fellow military spouse I prayed, “Lord, how can I encourage this woman, who seems to have decided to be miserable? How can I get past Anna’s barriers to share Christ with her in a meaningful way?”
The wisdom that God put on my heart was to simply be a friend and let my faith become a natural part of our conversation over time. Some call this friendship evangelism, I just call it friendship. I asked Jesus to alert me to opportunities as I prayed, “Lord, put your words in my mouth.”
Sharing Christ by simply talking about life as it is–the challenges and the blessings, the losses and wins, the ups and downs—this felt like a natural and doable way to open conversations about Jesus.
I began to look for ways to naturally mention Christ in my conversation.
“Jesus has been really working on me in the area of patience. . .” I confessed, sharing a current struggle with a challenging behavior of my kids. Anna could relate. Kids and the need for patience became common ground as I shared what Jesus was teaching me. She didn’t agree, but she didn’t balk at my Jesus talk.
One foggy morning we chatted after the kids got on the school bus. I told her, “I’m feeling anxious about my husband’s upcoming deployment. I’m not sleeping well, but Jesus encouraged me with this verse. . .”
Anxiety, fears, and the frustrations of deployments rolled out the red-carpet to connect on a heart level. Turns out that she struggled with worry about living far from her aging parents as well as fear about the impact of her husband’s stressful job on their marriage.
“Thanks for sharing that verse. I really needed to hear that this morning. It helps,” Anna admitted. Her complaining morphed into sharing that morning and something softened in the tone of her words. And something softened in my heart as I got to know Anna as a friend rather than a complaining neighbor.
A few days later, Anna knocked on my door. “Is there still room in that Bible study,” she asked.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
We can share the gospel, the hope of Jesus, wherever the military sends us.
Telling others about Jesus doesn’t mean we have to preach on street corners or knock on the doors of strangers with religious tracts. For many, these actions feel unnatural because they aren’t grounded in relationship.
Ask the Lord to give you courage to overcome your hesitancy to talk about your faith with others. When we simply share what we are learning, how Christ is working in our lives, or how he has helped us through a challenge, God can open doors for deeper discussion as we have authentic conversations that reach beneath the surface of shallow talk.
Our role is to share the truth in love, leaving the work of salvation with the Holy Spirit. The more personal and deep our relationship with Jesus, the more we want to share his life with others. The most authentic sharing comes as we care for others, build good relationships, and purpose to talk about our faith in our conversations.
As we rely on Christ, he will help us step out in faith and let the light of Jesus shine in our conversations with courage and authenticity.
Read: Psalm 40:10, Romans 10:17, Ephesians 4:29, I Peter 3:15
Reflect: What challenges do you experience in sharing Christ with others?
Respond: Ask Jesus to help you naturally share your faith wherever the military sends you. Who is he bringing to mind to talk to this week?
Lord, shine your love through me to others and put your words in my mouth. Empower me to share what you have done in my life in natural and effective ways. I trust in you to help me be alert for opportunities to joyfully shine your light in my everyday living. Amen.
Just Walk Across the Room: Simple Steps Pointing People to Faith by Bill Hybels
Telling Others in this Cultural Moment
Bridgetown Church Podcast, Ger Jones