George was a sailor on an oil tanker, and like most sailors he was often at sea for weeks at a time.
“Now that you’ve asked Jesus to come into your heart, George, your life is going to change,” John said.
“How’s that?” asked George.
“Well, it says right here in 2 Corinthians 5:17, ‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” George leaned over to take a closer look at the verse John was pointing to in his pocket-sized New Testament. John continued reading. “Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.’ So I want to prepare you, George, that when you go back to your ship, it’s not going to be easy. You know as well as I do that sailors are a tough and wild bunch.”
“That’s for sure!” No sooner had the words left George’s mouth than two drunken sailors and two local men tumbled out of the bar and continued their fracas.
“Most of your old friends don’t believe in God or Jesus,” John went on, “and they don’t particularly care for those who do. But, George, you’ll no longer be the ornery, foul-mouthed brawler you used to be. You’re going to be so different that your old friends probably aren’t going to want to have anything to do with you. They may even persecute you.”
So George went back to his ship, and it was a few months before it returned to that port. George went ashore, and it wasn’t long before he ran into John, who was passing out tracts. One could hardly miss him. His smile seemed to light up the whole street.
The two greeted each other and John asked how it had gone on the ship.
“Oh, fine—just fine!” George answered.
“I told you it was going to be difficult to be a Christian there, didn’t I?”
“No, no,” replied George. “It wasn’t hard at all!”
“You mean they didn’t persecute you or make life miserable for you?” John asked.
“Oh, no! You see, they never even found out that I was a Christian!”
That’s NOT being a real Christian! If you believe in something, you talk about it. Whether it’s your football team or political party or your work or whatever it is, if you believe in something, you talk about it. And if you really believe in and love Jesus, you’re going to talk about Him and share His love with others.
Jesus said that if someone has a candle, he doesn’t hide it—he doesn’t sit alone in some corner and hope nobody will find out that he’s become a Christian—but he puts the candle on a stand so that it gives light to others (Matthew 5:15; Luke 8:16).
Once you’re saved, it should be impossible to hide the love of God and the truth of Jesus. Once you have known His love and have Him in your heart, He wants you to try to share His love with others and to help them find Him too. That’s the least you can do for Him, the one who gave His life for you!
Unfortunately, too many Christians today are afraid to do anything that would make them stand out as being peculiar or different from the crowd. They’re more concerned about preserving their reputations than they are about helping others or taking a stand for Jesus. But there is really no such thing as “neutrality” for the Christian. Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12:30).
True Christians are more concerned that others find the love and happiness and truth that they have found, than they are about the rejection or ridicule they might receive from those who won’t receive or believe what they have to say. They’re not “chameleon” Christians who change color with every crowd and melt into the surrounding world. They’re not afraid to show some conviction and moral courage.
Jesus “made Himself of no reputation” (Philippians 2:7) and was “despised and rejected by men; a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. … He was despised and we did not esteem Him” (Isaiah 53:3). He was willing to do and go through that so you could know God’s love. Are you willing to do the same, if necessary, so others can find that same love?
The Bible says, “This is how we know what [God’s] love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16 NIV). We ought to be willing to do whatever we can to win as many others to Jesus as we can, while we still can, for “the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).If we truly believe that, we’ll do it!
There is a true story about a woman whose son was appointed his country’s ambassador to one of the world’s most powerful and influential countries at the time. But when she heard the news, instead of being overjoyed, the woman nearly wept. “Just think,” she lamented, “at one time he might have become an ambassador of the Gospel and the kingdom of God, but he settled for being an ambassador of a mere earthly nation that’s here today and will be gone tomorrow.”
Think of that! He could have been an ambassador for the King of kings, Jesus! He could have been an ambassador not just to one little country, but to the whole world. He could have been an ambassador from the greatest kingdom there ever will be, the only one that will stand forever, and he could have had a special place in Heaven with God’s other messengers (Daniel 2:44; 12:3; Matthew 16:27).
There is no higher position or greater honor than to be a messenger of God’s love and salvation. That position is open to you. Will you take it?
Be a wise witness.
Of course the Lord expects us to exercise wisdom in how and when and to whom we witness. “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves,” Jesus told His disciples. “Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). We owe the message of God’s love to everyone, but especially to those who will believe and receive it. The Lord doesn’t mean for us to cause ourselves unnecessary trouble by giving the message to people who we know won’t receive it and possibly even persecute us for it. The whole purpose of witnessing is to win others with the Lord’s love, not antagonize or offend.
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