The Evangelism Group

Equipping The Future

Success or Failure

As I boarded the small airplane on my way back home, I had the luck of being in seat “1B.” I wondered whether I would have a seatmate or have the whole section to myself, and I did not have to wait long until a nice young lady indicated that she would be occupying the seat next to me. I began to think of all the things I could say and the questions I could use to stir the conversation toward spiritual matters. After all, I had just finished reading a great book on apologetics and questioning evangelism—newly dubbed “conversational evangelism,” and was ready to engage. Sadly, the young lady began perusing her secular magazines and even when I tried asking interesting questions the conversation floundered.

After our small talk the stewardess brought beverages around and I settled in for some quality work time. I planned on typing up notes for a paper deadline and in the midst of getting everything situated I spilled some ice out of my cup. So I not only witnessed a conversation fissile, but I had now spilled some ice on my new-found, not-so-friendly seatmate’s feet. Luckily, the ice seemed to have landed on the floor of the airplane.

Toward the end of the flight as we started our final approach my new acquaintance discovered, much to my dismay, that apparently one piece of ice found its way into her open purse. I felt about three inches tall and apologized profusely; offering to get the stewardess’ personal supply of napkins if needed. The young lady brushed off the enormity of the situation, sharing that it was not a “big deal,” which obviously did not make me feel any better. I felt absolutely miserable with the results of my honest efforts at displaying proper airplane etiquette, and now to a much lesser degree, any evangelism opportunities that I had totally botched.

The reason I share this incident stems from our tendency as Christians to see evangelism as either success or failure. Success when gospel presentations culminate in prayers of salvation, and failure with anything less. But perhaps, as with my disastrous airplane flight, I merely needed to model Christianity at this stage in my seatmate’s spiritual journey. In the end God has called each of us to scatter seeds of faith, hope, and God’s love: allowing Him to take care of anything else that might be needed. Understanding the gospel obviously helps Christians share their faith when opportunities arise, but oftentimes demonstrating God’s love may be the most “successful” witness we can provide.


March 21, 2010 - Posted by | Devotions

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