From Kay Meyer's column in the St. Louis Metro Voice newspaper from 1994 to 2013.
“My younger sister, who lived hundreds of miles from us, was depressed. Mom had told me she had even threatened to commit suicide. I’d prayed, asking God to help me find a way to share my faith with her,” shared Judy while we vacationed in Minnesota.
“We had a family reunion, but the opportunity to witness never arose. Traveling home following the reunion, I prayed again. ‘Lord, help me find a way to help and share my faith with Pam.’”
Judy continued her story, “Kay, the most amazing thing happened. After I’d prayed, the desire to tell her about the abortion I’d had almost twelve years ago came to my mind.”
Judy told me her prayer to the Lord sounded like this: “That’s a crazy idea, Lord. Why would I want to tell her about my abortion? I never told anyone about my abortion. My mom and dad still don’t know. Neither do my eleven brothers and sisters. Lord, you can’t want me to tell her about my abortion. She’s already depressed. I don’t want her to become more depressed. I want to tell her about you, Lord. About how you came into this sin-filled world, because we were unable to save ourselves. About how you suffered and died for my sins. And for hers. I want to tell her about your love and forgiveness.” Judy tried to put the whole idea out of her mind.
“But, the desire to tell my sister about my abortion wouldn’t go away. Maybe God really wants me to tell her. God knows more than I do about what my sister needs to hear. I prayed again. The only answer was a constant desire to share information about my abortion.”
“Finally,” Judy continued, “I sat down at the dining room table and wrote her a ten-page letter. I told her about my abortion. I told her about the feelings of guilt and unhappiness I experienced for years. And then I told her, how, three years later, a friend told me Jesus had died for my sins. Even the sin of killing my own precious innocent baby boy! I told her Jesus’ sacrifice had cleansed me. And about the joy, peace, and happiness God has granted me. I still didn’t understand why God had led me to write about this to her, but I had finally listened to the Lord’s leading.”
“Two days later, my sister telephoned. I found out why she was so depressed. She had also had an abortion. She too had kept it a secret. My letter had opened the door for us to communicate openly.”
Judy completed her story with this statement. “I’m so glad I prayed and listened to the Lord’s leading in witnessing. Isn’t He a marvelous God? My thoughts about how I was going to witness to Pam and God’s plan sure were different. I’m glad I chose God’s way!”
This story illustrates how God guided and directed Judy as she learned to witness God’s way. We must learn to allow God to guide and direct us.
Recently, I interviewed Dr. A. L. Barry, President of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. He tries to witness every day to at least one person. As he travels, he looks for opportunities to communicate God’s love with individuals on airplanes, in restaurants, and at conventions and meetings he attends. He has many stories to share.
As we discussed “Witnessing--a Lifestyle,” several suggestions for learning to witness God’s way emerged. They Include:
- Build a relationship.
Building a relationship may take only a few minutes. As we travel, we can open up conversations with those sitting on the airplane next to us; as we shop we can listen and talk to shoppers and sales people; and as we eat in restaurants we can talk with those who wait on us.
At other times, building a relationship can take months or even years. The following story illustrates how I’ve learned to witness God’s way.
“Kay, I’m going to begin walking on my break. Want to join me?” With this question, God opened a door for me to witness to a Jewish co-worker I’d been praying for almost a year. During the next eight months, we walked several times a week together. I didn’t share my faith immediately. I listened and learned about her family. She learned about mine. We talked about our respective faiths. We became friends. Many opportunities arose for me to share my faith in Christ with her and to tell her the precious “Good News” of the Gospel. Unfortunately, she politely rejected the message of Christ’s forgiveness. But, we remained friends. We both changed jobs.
My friend understands we are sinful and believes there is a God. She believes Jesus was a good person but does not believe he is the Messiah or Savior. She firmly believes God will grant her eternal life because she is a “good” person.
God used me to plant a seed in her life. Someone else will hopefully see the harvest. But, God is not finished with her yet! How do I know? She is now working in a Christian organization! I continue to pray for her. Would you pray too? Pray God will remove the blindness she is experiencing and help her come to know Jesus as the only means of salvation. The one who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!
- Listen and respond to needs.
We must demonstrate our care and concern through actions and words. Dr. Barry shared an example of how this has occurred in his life: “On one of my plane trips there was a young mother with two small children. One was about a year and a half old, the other a little older. She became ill. Kay, no one wanted to help her. I offered to watch the two children. I took off my tie and spend the next few hours bouncing them on my lap.
After a couple of hours she began to feel better. She asked, ‘Why did you help me?’
“Because you needed help! And God had placed me here to help.”
Dr. Barry continued. “Kay, around us there are thousands of people who need our help. We must demonstrate the love of Christ through actions. As we do, God will open doors for us to share our faith through words.” [ Note: To order a CD of the interview, “Witnessing—a Lifestyle” featuring Dr. A. L. Barry, President of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, call 314-352-2253.
- Share your personal testimony and relate faith to everyday life situations.
This is what Judy did in the introductory story.
- Share the Law and Gospel.
Be prepared to share both the Law and the Gospel. The Law helps us recognize we are all sinners in need of God’s forgiveness (Romans 6:23). The Gospel tells us the Father loved us so much He sent His only begotten Son to be our Savior (John 3:16). We are forgiven. Eternal life is God’s free gift to us!
- Know and Grow in the Word.
As fishers of children, women, and men we must continue to grow and study God’s Word so we can learn from Jesus, The Great Fisherman, how to more effectively witness and live our lives in service to Him. Jesus tells us, as he told his disciples, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
by Kay L. Meyer