Dear friends. If you have a young teenage daughter, or a young adult daughter, I encourage you to hand off your phone or tablet to them so they could read this post. I’m officially out of the range of “cool” to most teenagers, to the point of being addressed as “yes ma’am”, and seen as a dog lady. But nonetheless, this post has been on my heart for some time and last night, the Lord gave me a bible verse that brought this topic back up. I knew I had to write this post today. I hope it encourages you gals (or guys!) in a time where one move determines your status in school, and where new things are happening often in a world you thought you had all figured out. I know it changed me for sure back in the day.
Sometime last week, I was sitting in an AT&T store waiting to see if my smashed phone screen could be fixed at that particular store. I live in a town whose majority is retirees and/or “snowbirds” (people who live up north but migrate to the south during the winter months to a more pleasant environment). I had been approached by a seemingly friendly older man who appeared to be in his late seventies, early eighties, who was also waiting for service. He was very sociable, and gladly would have talked me all the way home. But somewhere in the conversation that I could barely participate in, it was very manipulatively turned toward two topics that make stomachs turn with anxiety or anger. Politics and religion. Now, at this point, you guys, I have barely said a word. He asked what my work is and what brought me to live in the city, but that was the only opportunity I had to speak.
But then he called himself, “a professional salesman” and proceeded to- in a “salesy” way, sell me his way of life, from his political beliefs to how I should live life, to how THE UNIVERSE CONTROLS OUR EVERY STEP. Yikes. I wanted to get out of there!
Sir: “I just wake up every day and hold out my hands and accept whatever the universe has in store for me. I don’t know what your beliefs are..”
And I’m like….
Me: “Well, for my husband and I, its Jesus Christ and-”
Sir: “OH NO. “It” doesn’t (with aggressive pointy fingers) have a name, no! There is no “god”, it is just the universe and us and YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT one day at at time!!”
Y’all. I just wanted to get my phone fixed.
Sir: “Ah, the innocence of youth.”
Me: in my mind, “Ah, the ignorance of old.” I’m sorry. That was ugly. I shouldn’t have typed that. LOL.
So, let’s stop for a minute. If you’re a teenager or young adult, I am fully aware that this scenario is nothing like your middle school, high school, or even your workplace. It can be hard to connect with. But hear me out. I hope that you can see this is the perfect set up to share the Gospel. He clearly was a believer in other things besides our Jesus, so like the Bible says, let’s share the Good News! Right?
Let’s go over the most important points in this story.
- There’s an unbeliever.
- The perfect opportunity to share what you believe in confidence arises.
- You are shot down for what you believe.
Gals. Guys. All believers, isn’t this what we are afraid of sometimes? We know that there are other beliefs out there and strong ones too. Add on some very outspoken and aggressive people, and YOWZA, SAVE ME JESUS.
As a teenager, I remember one of the biggest successes in becoming who I was, included being accepted and liked for who I was. Unless you are an extraordinary teen, we all have feelings and care when someone hurts them or rejects them. We know that talking about someone like Jesus can bring on a torrent of ridicule and rejection from our peers. And that stuff hurts. So most of the time, we don’t even share because we are hurt both by their words and the thought that somehow we’ve failed. And then suddenly, asking to sit with someone in the cafeteria gets so much harder than it already is. I understand. I really do.
So, here’s the good part. The encouraging part. The truth is……
It is not our responsibility to save people.
We are leading people to Jesus so He can do the saving. But what does that mean for us? How is this supposed to help get past that brick wall that stands between me and sharing the Word of God? And how is it also supposed to get rid of that sinking feeling (and potentially tears, depending on the response) when the Gospel is rejected?
Well, Jesus tells us that the world/people don’t really hate or reject us, per se. (John 15:18) It’s Jesus they turn away. For example, say your friend comes to you and says, “Hey, I’m giving blood today, you should come and do it with me!” But you say no thanks. You are not turning away your friend, or spending time with your friend. You are turning away the act of giving blood. You could reject your friend completely for giving blood because maybe you think it’s gross or weird or something, but it’s not for no reason. It’s because she’s giving blood.
So when you share the gospel, they aren’t rejecting you as a person, they are rejecting salvation in Jesus. So, why then do we get all torn up and choked when it’s time to share? Because we know it is important. We hold it close to the belt and are in a way, holding out a sacred part of us to someone else. And when it get’s turned away? We can’t help but feel hurt.
Here is the bible verse God gave me last night. I didn’t know what the verse said but I remembered to look it up this morning when I opened my bible.
“For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.” Hebrews 4:2
This verse says that believers and unbelievers get to hear the gospel. The Word of God is for everyone. But the gospel does not matter to unbelievers because they do not receive it. Not, “no one shared it with them”. They did not/do not believe or receive it.
Friends, we are encountering a day and age where the gospel is almost completely accessible. It can be seen on TV, the internet, and television. Smartphones these days share information faster than we can type it out. The only people who haven’t heard the gospel or aren’t able to hear it are probably young children and unreached people groups. You know, the primitive European or Asiatic tribe that lives in sod huts, trees, and tents, and speaks some native language that no one has translated yet. Don’t let this stop you from sharing, because there are people who will want to hear it and believe it. But that time, where there are still people out there who have not heard the gospel will quickly come to a close.
So let me direct your vision to Jesus and speak light to you. No need to feel the weight of rejection after sharing. It is not your responsibility to feel rejected. When they say no to Jesus, they are not saying no to you. They are saying no to Jesus. Situations can be uncomfortable sometime, but don’t let the fear stop you from sharing.
Jesus told us to make disciples of all nations, but disciples can not be made by us saving people. Jesus does the saving, we do the sharing and teaching. So what’s left for us to do?
Just show up and share.