Imagine this, Sunday morning you hear your pastor emphatically say “preach the gospel to every creature.” You nod passionately in agreement, and think to yourself, “Self, he is speaking to us. Let’s evangelize the world!” On the way out of church, you thank your pastor for the challenge and ask him to pray for you this week as you hope to share the gospel boldly.
Sunday lunch is delicious. The nap afterwards leaves you ready to take on the world. You go to sleep thinking of all of the awesome opportunities God is going to provide to share Jesus at work.
However, that project ends up needing to be tweaked, you spend 90% percent of your time behind a computer and the remaining time listening to Loud Larry gripe about the cost of braces and the current political environment. You manage to mention you had a great time at church Sunday, to which Loud Larry bellyaches about the ills of organized religion (you think about how funny it would be to start singing a hymn as a joke of the problems with disorganized religion, nonetheless let the conversation drop).
You feel like a failure, you haven’t preached the gospel to anyone, and think to yourself, “Self, is this what Paul and Peter faced?”
All of the thoughts of evangelism slip as you drive home. You happily think about how great game night is going to be and it only momentarily crosses your mind that you might get a chance to share the gospel. But, you think to yourself, “Self, how would that even work?”
Does this sound at all familiar?
We want you to be confident in the gospel and sharing the gospel. Before you ever get a presentation out there, take a step back and try a different strategy.
First, pray. Pray that God would provide the opportunity to share the gospel. Jesus said we are to pray to the Lord of the Harvest for laborers in the harvest, and Paul said to pray that door would be open to share. Ask the One who said He would do the work for opportunity and boldness.
Second, pay attention. Play the games well. You will be a better representation of Jesus if you follow the rules, know what is going on, and are competitive. Some game nights are party game nights for fun, others are serious gamers who want to play. Know what is going on and be present.
Get to know the gamers you are playing with and be interested and interesting! Don’t be the conversation killer. Ask questions, inquire about families, work, hobbies, and life. Be friendly.
Finally, take the opportunities the Lord provides. Don’t “Jesus juke”. Don’t say things like, “This game is fun … want to know what else is fun? Following Jesus!” Or, “I will let you win if you come to church Sunday.” Or, “tough loss, the greatest loss a man can experience is losing his soul to hell.”
Celebrate wins (not just in the game, but newborns, graduations, promotions, etc.). Mourn losses (life is genuinely hard and if someone shares a loss, they are being vulnerable). Look for the right time. If someone asks you “what must I do to be saved?” You know the answer, “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
If the conversation instead goes to “I spend as much time out of my house because I find it difficult to be around my wife,” you have an opening. Ask a question, perhaps “what makes it so difficult for you?” Or make a true statement, “when I struggle to honor my wife, I like to remember that she is to be treated like a weaker vessel, it helps.”
The Philippian Jailer asking “what must I do to be saved?” is only recorded once in scripture. Paul reasoned daily in the marketplace. Peter lived in Jerusalem for a time. Jesus used both men to share the gospel and He saved people through their preaching the good news.
God put you where He wants you and is bringing people into your life to impact. You might share a great gospel presentation, and it might fall on deaf ears. You might bumble your way through a conversation, only to discover God used it to bring someone to faith in Jesus. Game nights are one of many opportunities to preach the gospel to every creature.
So,1. Pray. 2. Pay attention. 3. Take the opportunities God provides