It is amazing how a simple prayer request can change your day. As the requests had moved around the table last Saturday morning with my men’s group, Kane’s request had just turned serious. He told the story of a co-worker who had suddenly fallen unconscious a few weeks ago. Nobody knew how or why it happened, but the poor guy ended up in the hospital. I thought that might be the end of the prayer, to lift up his health and family, but Kane soon shot that theory to smithereens.
“He died last week.”
You could hear a pin drop. We hung on his every word. He described the guilt in his heart that he had never really even known where this man’s faith was. There he was at the funeral, burning inside, wondering where his co-worker was spending eternity, when someone mentioned how this guy indeed had a relationship with God and had gone to church regularly. It was as if a weight had been lifted from Kane. He breathed out a huge sigh of relief that swept his guilt clean, yet the thought was still there on Saturday.
With eyes reddened and filled with tears, he finished his request saying, “Just pray that I don’t miss another opportunity to witness and that I can be bold in my faith.”
Ever been there before? Maybe you have, or maybe you haven’t. Me? I have. A few years ago one of our science teachers went on medical leave. She didn’t want anyone to know that it was cancer, so she kept it quiet. Until it got worse. During the last month the truth was disclosed when there was no hope left. She died peacefully. We both shared a love for Kansas Jayhawk basketball. I had my in, yet I did nothing with it. Do you know what the real sad thing is? To this day I don’t know where her faith was.
The moral of the story is all too thick: never miss an opportunity to witness. Your job description may read that you are to teach math or language arts or science, but if you call yourself a Christian teacher, you have a higher job. A job that is clearly outlined in the Great Commission when Christ charges His disciples by saying, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28: 19-20).
If you’re like me, right now you’re squirming in your seat, so let’s put a positive spin on this. The Christmas season is upon us. Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. What an awesome time to share the experience of a Christmas service with an unchurched colleague! Maybe you have a kids’ production you could invite someone with kids to. We all have Christmas Eve services. Or there might be a hanging of the greens service that all could enjoy. You get the picture. Is there someone God is laying on your heart to invite?
Seriously, what is the worst that could happen? They could say no. Is that all that is holding you back? I only say this now because I know church productions are beginning soon at my church, and I bet they are at yours as well. This gives you time to think. Pray about it! Ask God for the same thing that Kane asked for above. Who knows … sharing a Christmas service with a friend to show them the importance of the birth of Christ may result in giving new birth by means of baptism! Don’t miss an opportunity that God gives you to witness at work because you never know when tragedy may strike. Life is all too short to not be on fire for Christ.
(Too many times I am content with living in my own little world, so listen to Matthew West’s “My Own Little World.” I hope it will challenge to step out of your comfort zone this holiday season.)