I have a college degree in economics. I concentrated on foreign economic systems, wrote papers on both the Polish and Yugoslav economies and took one class specifically on Karl Marx. As a Christian I saw many problems with Marx’s theories, but I always had a feeling that some day my knowledge of his ideas would come in handy. As a missionary with Jews for Jesus I rarely utilize my economics background, but recently I did find my knowledge of Marx useful in witnessing to one Jewish man.
A Christian man had called our Boston branch office about Louie, an elderly Jewish man. This Christian friend had witnessed to Louie and had sensed some openness to the gospel. I agreed to visit Louie. I found him to be very talkative, especially about his favorite topic, communism. Louie had been a card-carrying member of the Communist Party for many years. He handed me a Communist Party newspaper to read and kept telling me he was more interested in politics than religion.
On a subsequent visit I decided to tell Louie about my background in economics and my experience reading Karl Marx’s works. Louie had told me that most people he knew were ignorant about communism and Karl Marx’s theories. He had assumed that I was in that category, so when I told him of my background he was quite surprised. When I mentioned that I had read, "The Communist Manifesto," "Das Kapital" and numerous other Marx works, Louie’s boldness about communism subsided a little. He had not read that much about Marx’s original works.
Knowing that Louie believed in God, I was now able to voice my greatest objection to Marx’s theory: Marx was an atheist. He believed that faith in God was bad for society and that atheism was the very framework for communism. We looked up the word "atheism" in one of Louie’s books on Marx, which confirmed my statements. After that Louie was much more reluctant to push for a conversation on politics. In fact our conversation now turned more towards spiritual issues.
Louie affirmed that he did believe in God. He said he did not read the Bible much, but he did have one, which he used occasionally for reference. That led the way for us to look at some Scripture passages and talk more about Jesus, and his messianic claims. Louie was surprised that Jesus actually claimed to be the Messiah. We looked at Matthew 26:63-64 and Mark 15:1-2 and talked a little more about Jesus and the New Testament. Louie said he had enjoyed our conversation, and I told him that I would visit again.
Since those first two visits I have talked with Louie many more times. Occasionally, he brings up his interest in politics and communism, but I quickly remind him about Marx and atheism, and we are soon able to move to another topic.
I am thankful that the Lord is able to utilize my economics background in my witness to Louie. I know that he has been planting some spiritual seeds in Louie’s life. If nothing else, Louie’s behavior hints at that. For example, for someone who does not yet believe in Jesus, he has an unusual way of saying goodbye to a missionary. Whenever I leave Louie’s house, he always says, "Keep up the good work!" And with God’s help, I will.