Which of your friends, classmates, and colleagues do not know Jesus? Are you sure of their assurance of salvation? If not, how can you get them to think about the good news of the gospel?
You would think that graduation is too late for someone to accept Christ, wouldn’t you? I mean, parents, siblings, and extended family are in town, the campus is packed with visitors, and the campus bookstore is doing a brisk business. Isn’t it too busy of a time for someone to be making new decisions about life? Good thing Mary didn’t think that way about her soul and future.
Mary was a high school athlete who came to campus and decided her competitive days were in decline, but she wanted to stay connected to sports. She pursued athletic training with a zeal and loved the concept of helping athletes get better and back on the field as soon as possible.
I had met Jesus a year or so before graduation and was a raw, not-knowing-much-about-my-faith follower, and a varsity baseball player, and catcher to boot. As such, I found myself in the training room often for the numerous and varied bumps, bruises, and wounds suffered from foul balls, home plate collisions, and occasional baseball bats in the head after an errant swing.
As I read the Great Commission of Jesus in my really new, New Testament (Matthew 28:19-20), I assumed those instructions were still binding on anyone else following Jesus, so I started to pray for divine contacts and opportunities to share my new-found faith.
Sitting in a training room with ice bags on a shoulder, leg, or back was a natural time to employ some of my chit-chat skills with other athletes or trainers nearby. Besides normal stuff like classes, sports, and weather, I often asked someone to tell me their story (i.e., where are they from, personal highlights, dreams, etc.,) and then asked about their spiritual story (their background, spiritual heritage, current practices, difference it made, and so on).
One day, I struck up a conversation with Mary in the training room, and over time got to know her better and better. I clumsily shared some of my story, including my recent decision to start following Jesus. I asked her about her spiritual beliefs and listened intently, asking a few more questions for clarity and understanding – why did she believe what she believed?
I didn’t think much progress was being made and a year had gone by. Amazingly, she showed up at my apartment the day before our undergraduate commencement and said she just became a Christian! And she added a lot of it was due to our conversations in the training room.
Have you ever thought that the efforts you make to talk to others about Jesus never (or rarely) bear any fruit? I realized God is working in people’s lives and it is never too late for someone to respond – even the day before graduation. I was stunned by Mary’s news and dumbfounded that I contributed to her deciding she needed and wanted to know Jesus. God used me in His work!
Read 2 Timothy 1:8-14.
You just read the apostle Paul’s mission statement about reaching out with the gospel. Ask God to give you divine appointments to share your story. It is never too late to reach out to one more person with the love of Jesus Christ. Walk wisely. You’re never too late to be a witness.
Love is a verb,
©2016 by Mike Olejarz