The reason for the season is a reason to share
Let me ask you a question, the answer of which will astound you. Who is the best known person in the world today? If you said Billy Graham, you would be wrong. If you said the Pope, you would be wrong. If you said Elvis Presley, you would be wrong. If you said Jesus of Nazareth, you would be wrong. Who is the best known person in the world today? Recent surveys say, Mickey Mouse! Think about it. A figure who does not even exist is better known than the Son of God who came at this season of the year, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and died for the sins of the world. Even our calendar is dated around His birth (B.C. and A.D.). Yet, He is not acknowledged as the best-known person in the world today. Why?
I think Chuck Kelley, president, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, has the answer. I’ve heard him say this numerous times; I heard it again last week in New Orleans as he contextualized the decline in baptisms across the Southern Baptist Convention.
“Southern Baptists are a harvest-oriented denomination, living in an unseeded generation,” he said.
No wonder Jesus Christ is so unknown – those who claim to know Him are keeping the knowledge of Him to themselves.
Someone has well said that they have no fear that the church will not succeed; but, they fear it will succeed in those things that do not matter. Apply this agriculturally: No matter how many acres are cultivated, how many barns are built, how much machinery is acquired, how many livestock are owned, or how much seed is purchased, if the land is not sown with seed, that farmer will be a failure.
This season of the year is the best of the year to be sharing the Gospel. Though 70 percent of Americans do not have a personal relationship with “The reason for the season,” people are very open to conversations about God. We asked the waiter about the tattoo on his arm which stated, “Persecution in Life, Freedom in Death.” He indicated he was a “religious” seeker. I told him you could put every religion in the world under one word: “Do.” I explained that religion is man’s attempt to reach God, and every religion has its own formula of exercises and duties required to reach God. In that sense, every religion is the same. I went on to explain that Christianity is not a religion based on what we “Do;” rather, it is based on a relationship with God possible because of what Jesus Christ has DONE. I was struck by how attentive he was as we shared. When I gave him Billy Graham’s, “Steps To Peace With God” tract, briefly explained it to him and asked him to read it. He profusely thanked me and indicated he would. To put it in agricultural terms, he was as open as the main door in a large barn.
Let this true story stir you to intentionally and constantly be sharing your faith this season, and every season. One of the greatest Baptist preachers in England was a man named Francis Dixon. Dixon had a young man in his church whose name was Peter. He asked Peter to share his testimony of how he became a Christian.
Peter stood up and said, “I was in the Royal Navy, stationed in Sydney, Australia. I was walking down George Street, when out of nowhere came a little old white-haired man. He said to me, ‘Excuse me, sir, I would like to ask you a question. I hope it won’t offend you, but tell me, if you were to die today, where would you be in eternity? The Bible says it will either be in Hell or in Heaven, one of the two. Think about it, would you please? That’s all, sir, God bless you.’” Peter said, “I had never had anybody ask me that question before, and it so burdened me that when I got back to England, the first thing I did was to seek out a pastor and gave my heart to Christ.”
Not long after that, Dixon conducted a revival meeting. He had a half dozen or so people on the revival team, and one of those was a young man named Noel. Noel was asked to give his testimony.
“Here is the way I was saved,” Noel said. “I was in the Royal Navy stationed in Sydney, Australia. I was walking down George Street in Sydney one day when out of nowhere came a little old white-haired man who said to me, ‘Excuse me, sir, but I would like to ask you a question. I hope it won’t offend you, but tell me, if you were to die today, where would you be in eternity? The Bible says it will either be in Heaven or in Hell. Think about it would you please. That’s all, God bless you.’”
Noel said, “I was so burdened by that that I gave my heart and life to Jesus Christ.”
Not long after that, Dixon went on a world speaking tour in Australia, and he was so moved by this testimony that in a Baptist church in the city of Adelaide, he told this same story about these two men. While he was speaking, a man stood up and waved his hand.
“Yes, sir, what is it?” Dixon said.
“Sir, I am another convert,” the man replied. “I was walking down George Street in Sydney, Australia, when out of nowhere came a little old white-haired man and asked me those same questions, and that’s the way I eventually came to Christ.”
Dixon shared this story in other parts of Australia, at Keswick in northern England, and even in India, preaching to missionaries. Each time, people would come to him to say, “I am another convert.”
Oh, the impact of one person sowing.
Robert Moffett, a great missionary and a great Christian statesman, said, “We shall have all eternity in which to celebrate our victories, but only one short hour before the sun sets in which to win them.” The harvest of souls in Missouri is waiting our sowing of the Gospel. This, and every season, is the season for sharing. (Gary Taylor is the Missouri Baptist Convention’s director of evangelism.)