Philip Yancey wrote of an American musical team on a recent tour of the Middle East. The door opened for an engagement in Kabul, Afghanistan. Their leader strictly warned them not to stray from the prepared script. Dire consequences could follow. They sang folk tunes and songs about God’s love. All was uneventful until one member of the team put down his guitar and began to improvise.
“I’d like to tell you about my best friend, a man named Jesus, and the difference He has made in my life.” From the side of the stage, the team leader motioned wildly for him to stop. He gestured the cut-your-throat motions. The young man went on with his testimony.
Then the Minister of Cultural Affairs for Afghanistan stood and walked to the stage. “We have seen many American young people come through this country,” he said. “Most of them come for drugs, and most look like hippies. We have not seen or heard from people like you. God’s love is a message my country needs. How thrilled I am to hear you!”
Then he publicly invited the group to expand their tour to visit every college and faculty in the nation and to give this same message on Kabul Radio. The minister added, “I will make it happen.” Yancey continued by writing that the response to the tour was amazing. Afghan young people crowded around them: “Tell me more about this Jesus – we know of Him from the Qur’an.” Some asked to pray with the American teenagers. Many wanted to know how faith had changed them.
Contrary to public opinion, people are incredibly open and receptive to the Gospel today. There is a tremendous spiritual hunger in our generation. David Barret in the World Christian Encyclopedia, reports that 82,000 people a day are becoming Christians. He does not count the reported 100,000 a day coming to Christ in China, since those figures are difficult to verify. I stopped to buy a Diet Coke in Sedalia on a late-night return from Kansas City recently. I beat the clerk to the punch and asked, “How much do you owe me?” She retorted, “Me owe you? You owe me!” and she told me how much. After I paid her I said, “I really do owe you, much more than this monetary amount.” I had a Gospel tract in my hand and told her the message of that tract had changed my life and I owed it to her to give her the same Good News. She responded, “I have been battling depression lately. I’m struggling financially as well as in a relationship. Maybe this would help me.” I assured her it would and encouraged her to read it. I shared in a similar way with the Hotel clerk when Cindy and I were checking in the week before. He was glued to what I was saying. I was showing him a Gospel tract as well. In fact, I went through the tract with him to the point of praying to receive Christ. I noticed several in line behind me waiting to check in so I told him to read it again soon and pray to receive Christ. Excitedly he said, “I will read this again tonight. I promise you that.”
We who know Christ must rush into this opportunity with the Gospel! Let me suggest a strategy that works for me. Be bold about your faith with a smile on your face. Speak the truth without feeling you have to pressure others into agreeing with you. If you can speak the truth with a smile and with the joy of the Lord, you will always be observing the number one rule for sharing your faith. Remember, people aren’t as interested in your relationship with Christ as they are with your resemblance to Christ. They noticed the difference in Afghanistan. I believe they will in Missouri as well!
MBC Director of Evangelism