Over the last two weeks we have been looking at some of the evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus. We have been focussed on 5 facts that almost every expert in the field would agree to. There is a danger that we then grab our ammo and head out into the battle field to tell everyone we meet the 5 facts that they just have to know.
But is this what Jesus wants us to be doing? Should we bombard people with the facts? Col 4:5-6 seems to be saying that we need to be wise in the way we act towards outsiders. We are to make the most of every opportunity BUT our conversations should be full of grace and seasoned with salt.
1 Peter 3:15 also call on us to give a reason for the hope that we have but to do it with gentleness and respect.
Since most people will be looking at who you are not just what you say, over the next few weeks I am going to try and give us some tips in sharing the story of Jesus that will help us be wise, respectful, gentle and to have well seasoned conversation.
Tip 1 – Be Clean
It might seem a little obvious but if you are going to be speaking to people in Australian society then you need to do two really simple things first. Have a shower and brush your teeth. Now I am sure I have inadvertently done this myself but there has been the occasional time when I have spoken with people who it seems have not showered for weeks before hand and it was not on a work site or pig farm but in a Christian gathering.
If you want people to listen to what you are saying then it is good to have breath that does not smell like a three day old garlic sausage. Once again I can guarantee you that I have done this but I remember one bloke I was once speaking to and his breath was so bad it was hard to get close enough to listen to him.
Tip 2 – Get to know them
Sometimes in our enthusiasm to tell people about Jesus we can just hit the download button and dump on them everything we know without ever drawing breath. The reason God made us so we need to breath was to force us to shut up and listen. So do not be someone who speaks all the time.. remember you are in a conversation. I must admit there are plenty of times I have suddenly realised that I am doing all the speaking and not doing much listening Two ears and one mouth should give me a hint. Do not speak all the time but listen. And listen with genuine interest. Interact with what they are saying.
Ask them questions, get to know them, find out their story and if the conversation is already discussing the resurrection make sure you listen to their thoughts views and reasoning. Do not interrupt them and remember if they speak a lot then at another time you can revisit the conversation by saying that you have been thinking about what they said and then share some of your thoughts. Unless you are in a plane plummeting to the ground, conversations can be on going… and even if you might never see that person again remember the greatness of God… he can (and does) use other people. One might plant a seed and another might water it but it is God who causes the growth.