Let’s play a brief word association game, shall we? I’ll say, or in this case, write a word. Then I want you to note the first thing that comes into your mind. Ready? Public speaking – you think?
I don’t know what first popped into your head. But for many people, public speaking evokes thoughts like panic or fear.
In fact, according to most studies, public speaking is near the top of lists of things people fear most.
As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
I’ve been asked on occasion, “Do you get nervous at a public speaking engagement?” And my response is typically, “Yes, very nervous…if I don’t know what I’m going to say!” Having done lots of public speaking over the years, I’ve grown to be fairly comfortable with it, but preparation is the key! Knowing what I’m going to say helps my confidence and embellishes my communication.
The thought of having witnessing conversations is a stumbling block to many believers, even to some who want to have them! Now I don’t know where witnessing conversations are on a list of fears Christians have, or if it’s a fear you may struggle with, but like public speaking for the general population, it’s probably on some kind of list.
When it comes to talking to people about spiritual matters, it seems to me one fear we may have is the fear of not knowing what to say.
When Jesus first sent out His disciples, He gave them instruction on a variety of matters, including what to say. And his instruction regarding verbal testimony can inform our witness today as it pertains to conversing with others about the truth.
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (Matthew 10:16-20).
Now Jesus was helping them prepare for the coming storm of opposition they would face, And He was promising to help them share their faith under fire.
Notice His striking words in bold, for they also apply to you and me today.
“Do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak.” Let’s acknowledge that spiritual conversations, like many conversations, are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna’ get! Because the Lord calls us to walk by faith, He calls us to trust Him.
So when a door of opportunity opens to speak of spiritual matters, trust God to give you the words. When? “In that hour,” in the moment we need them!
“For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” Just as the Spirit of God would help them, He will help us. In fact, He will speak in and through us!
How? As we abide in Christ, walking in the power of the Holy Spirit!
Once, as I was sitting in a local coffee shop writing, as I’m prone to do, seating was tight. I was working alone at a table that could seat three people. An elderly man with a cup of coffee meandered into the room and asked some people if anyone was sitting at their table. Seeing his need, I invited him to sit with me. He said “Thank you,” and sat down.
For a few minutes I continued working. Then I realized that perhaps I could strike up a conversation. But what could I say? One of the first things I said was, “Do you live here, or are you just passing through?”
That began a conversation, where this man named Ignacy shared some of his life story, including that his wife had died a couple years earlier. Upon hearing that, I offered my condolences. He then indicated death is simply something we all go through. I responded, “Yes, the statistics are pretty impressive!” I then added, “The issue isn’t so much whether we die, but what happens when we die.”
I then asked him what he thought happens after we die. He responded, “Nothing.” I then asked him if I could share with him what I believe happens after we die, and he said, “Sure.”
That catapulted us into a spiritual conversation delving into the resurrection of Jesus, as this man grew up Catholic and was biblically literate. Later, we meandered into banter about our European heritage, his Polish, mine German. He shared some of his experiences in Poland in World War 2 as a child. It was quite fascinating.
I must admit that there are times I don’t take advantage of opportunities God gives me to open my mouth. There are times I’m not abiding in Christ and am walking in the flesh, yet, I’m thankful when I can talk with someone about the Lord.
If the Lord met the disciples at their point of need, He’ll meet you and me at our point of need. As you have faith-based conversations with people, remember there is not a “one size fits all” method when attempting to specifically connect with an individual and share things of God.
If we desire to talk to people about spiritual things, the Lord will open doors and give us His words in His time for His glory in order to accomplish His purposes. So abide in Christ, walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, asking God for divine appointments to sow gospel seed. Then see what great things He will do, for God is faithful.