Question: What is the right thing to do when you want to witness to someone with whom you have a professional relationship, like a doctor, or a teacher, or even a boss at work?

Answer: Society says one thing, but the Holy Spirit says something else. Society says that patients shouldn’t try to tell doctors what’s good for them, students shouldn’t try to instruct teachers and that employees should take direction from the employer and not try to give guidance to the boss. But the Holy Spirit moves where He will, through whom He will, and no one can figure out His ways.

I can think of at least three different instances where Jewish people have come to Christ because those they employed for domestic help witnessed to them. There are teachers who have learned from their students when it came to Christ, and doctors have had the healing of their souls because a patient cared to speak up.

It’s not that the Holy Spirit gives us authority over others, but rather He is always in authority. It is up to us to show courteous respect for the position of others. We must be careful that we don’t talk down to people, and that we do not say more than they want to hear if they show they are not interested.

God will use whom He will and what He will to get out His message, but it does not change or elevate the position of the messenger. It’s good to remember that if God can speak through Balaam’s ass, He can speak through you. (But remember, Balaam’s ass did not become a prophet.)

I think that many of us have been spooked by what I call a Holy Ghost voice.” Whether or not the Spirit is moving a person is difficult to know, but some people seem to contrive their demeanor into an otherworldly kind of voice in order to give weight to what they are saying. I’ve never found God’s Spirit to work in that way.

When God spoke through the burning bush, He didn’t intimidate Moses by a tone of voice. When God spoke to Samuel, it was almost in a whisper to wake him (I Samuel 3).

If God chooses to speak to a person through us, we do not need to claim authority or even the right to speak to that person, nor should we allow our ordinary respect and demeanor toward the other person to be changed. As C.S. Lewis pointed out, a witness should be carried out on the basis of one beggar telling another where they might find bread.