A Reluctant Witness

Evangelism is generally comprised of prayer, good works and good words. For most of us, praying for the lost and taking opportunity to demonstrate God’s love through serving others  is something we can do – and is typically non-threatening. It’s the talking part that becomes a stumbling block for many – it’s generally the most intimidating and riskiest component of the evangelistic endeavor.

I don’t know about you, but there have been times I’ve either been hesitant, scared, or anxious about ‘pulling the trigger’ and speaking words of life and truth. For questions arise – How will they respond? Will they reject me? Will this go bad?

As ambassadors of Christ, God calls us speak with others about the wonders of Jesus and His gospel – the truth that sets men free. And yet, as much as we know people need the Lord, we also know the challenge it is to open up our mouths and speak.

If you feel somewhat inadequate and anxious about this area of your witness, take heart. You’re not alone. In fact, as God’s Ambassador, you’ll do just fine!

Moses was God’s Ambassador, a hesitant anxious Ambassador at that!

When God first called Moses to return to Egypt and lead the Israelites out slavery after 40 years in exile, Moses didn’t exactly jump at the offer:

Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:10-11)

Is this such an inappropriate response? No doubt, Moses had some baggage associated with his previous time in Egypt. There was the Egyptian he had killed, his fellow Israelite who took issue with him, and Pharoah who wanted his life (Exodus 2:11-15) – that’s why he fled to and lived in Midian…for 40 years!

On the other hand, God had clearly communicated His agenda and the source of their deliverance:

I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:7-8).

It’s good to remember that their are people in our midst who are experiencing a different sort of slavery – bondage to sin. And we have a compassionate God who desires to deliver people out of their spiritual ‘Egypt’ into freedom (Matthew 9:35-38).

And though we may ask or tempted to ask the same question Moses stated – Who am I? – God has placed each of us in our own unique sphere’s of influence to be the Lord’s hands and feet in ushering people our slavery into the freedom that comes from knowing Jesus!

As God continues to give Moses instructions regarding the mission in Egypt (Exodus 3:13-20), Moses continues to push back.

He wonders aloud about his witness to his own people in Exodus 4:1:

“But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’”

Do we not ponder these same thoughts when thinking about our witness to the lost? God gives Moses the signs of a staff turning into a serpent, the healing of a leprous hand, and the turning of water into blood – all in support of Moses’ witness (Exodus 4:2-9).

Even with all this, Moses continues pleading his case against God’s call to go:

Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.” (Exodus 4:10-13)

Despite God’s continued reassurance, Moses tells the Lord send anybody…but him! And despite God’s anger, He doesn’t give up on Moses! In fact, the Lord makes a way for Moses by giving him Aaron as a mouthpiece and support (Exodus 4:14-17).

Finally, Moses moves forward and begins walking in the will of God as the Lord’s witness to the Israelites and to Pharaoh. And the rest… we might say is history!

Is Moses a reluctant witness. You bet. And yet, he was also Israel’s greatest prophet!

If you have ever felt – or as you’re reading this, feel – like a reluctant witness, you’re in good company.

You see, when I first became a Christian, I was a ‘closet Christian’ for 18 months – that’s how long it took me to share my faith with my entire family. I was the very first believer in my family and it was hard.

As a missionary in New York City to my Jewish people for 6+ years, there were times I was a reluctant witness, wanting the Lord to send anyone but me into a specific situation.

And you know what? I’m grateful that a compassionate, gracious God didn’t give up on me then and He won’t give up on me now. He keeps working with me, on me and through me, despite my trepidations!

And He will do the same for you. Now, I don’t know to whom God may is call you to go, or what that witnessing situation may look like. But God does. And if today you find yourself a reluctant witness, understand there is no better day than today to…

surrender.