My wife is an avid morel hunter. She gets really excited about it. The conditions have to be just right for them to show up in the spring, and their season is pretty short. So when they appear, you have to be ready.
The first time that she took me morel hunting I didn’t know what they looked like. Let’s face it. Morels are weird-looking. How do you describe a morel to someone who has never seen one? But caught up in my wife’s enthusiasm, I went trudging into the woods. I probably trampled on some and walked by others before I spotted my first. But then, I knew. That weird shape helped me pick them out from the forest floor. Spotting them became much easier.
Looking for opportunities to tell someone about Jesus is similar to morel hunting. If you don’t know what you are looking for, it would be very easy to trample some underfoot and pass by others. So how do we learn to spot opportunities to tell others about Jesus?
The theme verse for this series of articles says, Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). This verse helps us identify when we have opportunity to tell others about Jesus. Here are three pointers.
- When people ask: Obviously, if someone is asking you about what you believe or the hope that you have, that is an opportunity to tell them about Jesus.
- When hope is needed: The hardships of life can provide many occasions for sharing your faith. Sin has ruined the world we live in. Because of it, we deal with sickness, death, heartache, unfaithfulness, failure, and disappointment. These often rob people of joy and hope. If you see people struggling with life, you may have an opportunity to tell them about Jesus. If you are struggling with life and people see the hope that you have in the midst of that hardship, you may have opportunity to tell them about Jesus. The darkness and pain of suffering can make eyes more willing to see and ears more willing to hear about Jesus, who said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
- When you can speak with gentleness and respect: This point brings in Christian wisdom. It requires that Christians be aware of the situation and the context of the conversation. We may not be in a state of mind where we can speak with gentleness and respect. In such circumstances, it may be better that we say nothing at all. The setting of the conversation may not allow for it to be gentle and respectful. As an example, pointing out someone’s sin in front of others may do more harm than good. Embarrassing them is not likely to make them receptive to your message of forgiveness in Jesus. Seeking the opportunity for a one-on-one conversation is probably better. The Christian is to be careful so that the message of hope in Jesus is presented with gentleness and respect.
These pointers should help you identify opportunities to tell others about Jesus. It is a lot like morel hunting though. The best thing to do is to head out into the woods. Experience will teach you. Once you see an opportunity, it is very likely that you will begin to notice more and more. Look around. God has placed people in your life right now who need the hope that you have in Jesus. Seize the opportunities.
Tell them about Jesus.
Reverend Timothy Hartwig
Peace Lutheran Church
North Mankato, MN