After the day I surrendered my life to Jesus, I carried inside me both a fear of and a burden for evangelism, which is a fancy and annoying word for telling people about Jesus and the opportunity to be made new.
I remember waking into a 7-11 convenience store, trembling with head held low, because I believed it was my duty to share Jesus with the store clerk. He was a man of Middle Eastern decent. I walked down an aisle, pretending to shop as I mustered up the courage to say something.
My Amazing First Attempt
And when I finally did, it was ugly. I bought some gum and as I turned to walk away, I spoke, “I just wanted you to know that Jesus loves you.” The sweat was beginning to form on my forehead.
The man smiled back at me a smile that said, I’m going to be courteous even though you are an idiot. “Oh? And how do you know that?”
There was a defiant challenge in his eyes, despite his smile. He was ready to debate me here and now and lay waste to my faith if possible.
My Star-Studded Rebuttal
I was completely caught off guard and unprepared. I had no answer, and my face turned red from embarrassment.
“I just do.”
There. That’ll show him. That I’m a complete idiot.
I walked out of the store humiliated and ashamed of my own foolishness. He remained composed and I wilted. So much for demonstrating the power and love of a God I had just recently experienced.
The Lesson Learned
I’d like to tell you that I took the pain of that experience and honed my craft so that I could be a shining light of hope and peace and love to all mankind. I’d really like to. But this is the REAL story, not the water cooler version. Instead, I really just hid further and further from opportunities to share Jesus with strangers. No lessons learned. No personal advances. Just whimpering retreat.
It would be more than a decade before I would see living examples of sharing Jesus calmly without fear of rejection that I could actually emulate.
But that’s a story for another time.