Training, whether it be for the Olympics, or in my case, for the goal of becoming a more effective missionary, occurs through a combination of listening and doing. Those of us Jews for Jesus who are involved in our AVODAH program are receiving the best possible training—because when we’re not listening to lectures, we’re out on the streets utilizing the things we’ve learned.
Moishe Rosen spoke to us recently about something that I have found to be particularly helpful in my witnessing on the streets. I’d like to share the gist of it with you; perhaps it will make a difference in your sharing the Gospel with others, as it has in mine.
Moishe suggested to us a rather unique way of beginning a conversation with someone: you walk up to a person in the street and ask, Do you mind if I tell you something personal?” If he or she answers, ‘Yes, “the next step is to say, “God loves you, “then step back and allow them to react or respond. Frankly, I didn’t have the chutzpah (courage) to initiate such a conversation, but, still, the idea appealed to me. So, a few days later, I decided to try it out at the University of California in Berkeley.
A girl came running up to me after receiving one of our Gospel tracts. “This is just great!; she said, with a smile. I assumed that she was a Christian, so I responded, “Oh, you believe in Jesus, too!” Surprisingly she answered, “No, not really; well actually, I don’t know. It’s just that when I read this pamphlet, somehow it made my day.” was somewhat taken aback, but I didn’t want the conversation to end. Then I remembered Moishe’s training lecture. “Thanks for telling me that,” I said, “and. uh, can I tell you something personal?”
“Sure, okay.” she responded.
“Well, I just wanted you to know that God loves you. I mean, He really loves you. Do you ever think, ‘If that person really knew me, he’d never be able to love me?’ Even though we have friends, sometimes we wonder whether or not they would still be our friends if they could see what we’re really like inside.”
“Yes,” she said, “I know exactly what you mean.”
“God knows everything about you…and He loves you. ” As I said this, I thought to myself that I couldn’t remember the last time someone had looked so interested in what I had to say!
“How do you know God loves me?”
“Because I know from my own experience that He loves me, and take my word for it, if He can love me. He can love you.”
The conversation continued for a little longer, and Barbara gave me her phone number. We agreed to meet again soon to talk more about God’s gift of love to us, through Jesus.
After that conversation with Barbara, I realized something; I’d been spending much of my time explaining to people why I believe that Jesus is the Messiah—trying to “defend a truth.” I’d completely forgotten to tell them what everybody is longing to hear: that they are loved. The fact that God loves us is the key that unlocks the door to men’s hearts. I’d been so intent on trying to convince people that Jesus is the Messiah, that I had forgotten to explain why He came for us.
Love is a word that is constantly misused in secular society. Sometimes we feel that it is trite to speak about love, or that the real meaning of love is too personal to discuss with strangers. But if we’re to be missionaries of God’s love, we must often speak about it. As God’s people, His love is the only thing that we really have to offer.