Grieving the Spirit by not witnessing

Today I grieved the Spirit by not sharing Christ with a co-worker.

Now, I hope you are not one of those who shares Christ once or twice a month. If so, you will not be able to relate to this post. Why? Because in your case you are not constantly aware and looking for opportunities to share Christ, and if so, this one experiance will mean little to you because all you will see is the “Mr nice guy” evangelism, and say “what’s wrong with that?”

The work environment is not always conducive to witnessing in most cases. Your employer is not paying you to share Christ. However, if we have the desire and concern too, He will make opportunities. Such has been the case where I work part-time.

However, today I was out on the streets and came across a person who works where I work. I had just got on the train headed for the city, and noticed her a couple of sections up. The train made a few stops along the way and I wondered if she had noticed me in the back. I would occasionally look her direction to see.

She was with a couple of other people sitting in the seats. Finally, I thought to myself, “I am not going to be unfriendly”. And, “what if she had noticed me?” Oh that Richard, what a snob he is. Now, I certainly don’t act that way at work, so why should I now?

Now, in hindsight I can see where I first went wrong. If I would have been keen in the Spirit, I would of immediately thought to myself, “Ah, what an opportunity I have now to share the Gospel with her. We are not at work now, it’s perfect! I would have then began to pray.

But oh no. I approached her with the thought of being friendly, which is definitely right and good, but no real concern to share with her. The problem was that I wanted to be Mr. nice guy and did not want to maybe offend her or turn her off. I did all the right things such as giving her and her out of town guests directions and conversing with them etc.

But when it came time for them to de-board, we all smiled and they thanked me for the visit and the directions. It was all nice and proper. But what about their souls? They went off after that visit probably thinking to themselves, “Oh he was such a nice guy” or “He was so friendly and helpful”.
I had been careful not to offend them, but at what cost?

Now, what I am trying to get at here is the fact that I did all the right stuff and that in itself was good, but anyone in the world does that kind of stuff all the time. Everywhere I go, I see some of the nicest people you would ever want to meet, but they don’t know Christ. Yes, we who do, should lead the way as far as “kindness” “showing them love”, “being helpful” etc.

But if I do all these things and for whatever reason, I don’t share Christ, it was all for nought. Just being nice and helpful and leaving it at that, does not have any real eternal value. Oh, if I would have had six weeks to be nice to them, then maybe (and it’s maybe) they might have asked, “why are you being so nice to us?” Then I could have told them about Christ, but that was not the case.

I may never have another opportunity to share with her again. And with all that I have seen and heard at work, she lives a life in need of God.

So I went on after that experience today deeply convicted in my heart. It was an OK day, but certainly not anointed. The difference between yesterday and today were like night and day. And rightly so. When we grieve the Spirit, it takes time to reflect and learn, so hopefully we will not repeat the same circumstance again. Also, when we grieve the Spirit, we lose the power.

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10 Responses to “Grieving the Spirit by not witnessing”

  1. EvangelismCoach Says:

    I enjoy reading your posts in my feed and enjoy your insights, stories, and passion to share Christ.

    I want to take a moment and respond to this one with two reactions.

    1. Isn’t it ok to just relax and be nice every now and then? This friend is in your circle of influence and you’ll likley have additional opportunities to talk in a place that might be more conducive to the type of relationship you have.

    2. If you had shared, perhaps the response would have been “how rude” versus “how nice.” Of course, we never know what response might happen. We live in that tension all the time.

    I wonder if my take away from your story is different — I want to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit to help me filter what are
    1. the right moments to nice and share my faith and
    2. the right moments to be just be nice.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I enjoy them.

    Evangelismcoach.

  2. Richard Says:

    Evangelismcoach,
    It’s good to hear from you again!
    You were the kind of response that I was hoping I would get.

    Regarding you reaction #1.
    I relax all the time and am nice all the time. But, it’s what the unsaved world does all the time also. Just because I am a nice guy does not mean that they will see Jesus in me. Some of the nicest guys I ever met were far from God.
    What I didn’t mention in my post, was that this co-worker works in another department and I only see her in passing maybe once a week. But, I am trusting that I will have another opportunity with her.

    Re: Reaction #2.
    It could have very much turned out to be “how rude”. That’s very common out there. But, should that fear of being called “rude” or offencive have kept me from sharing?
    The “Mr. Nice Guy” is good and the Christian should be one, but what about sharing the Gospel along with that “nice guy?”
    One thing I know, and that is that the Spirit was telling me to share with her and that’s where the conviction came in.
    We should always be nice to people, but along with that we must share the Gospel. Just being nice like many in the world does not win them to Christ. In most cases, it makes us feel and look good, but usually just stops there.

    Thanks for your reply, it added to what was on my heart.
    God bless you as you go out!

  3. EvangelismCoach Says:

    So I was baited, eh? Chuckle chuckle.

    Your reply pulls out something that I didn’t see in the original post.

    “The Spirit was telling me to share with her.”

    When that’s the case, I feel the same way — that burning desire to share, engage in a conversation, pointing to the next step on their journey to Christ — something has to happen. When I feel those promptings, it’s important to step out in obedience and discover the kairos moment that God has prepared.

    What is the crucial skill for us is to recognize the prompting of the Spirit that opens the door.

    When that happens and we step in obedience, the reaction I get is never “how rude” or “how offensive” or “how stupid” or whatever. What I find when I respond to the Spirit given moments is always a wide open door.

    Learning to distinguish between the Spirit’s prompting and our own flesh is the skill that makes one encounter more “successful” over the other.

    Chris

  4. Richard Says:

    Chris,
    Yeah the “bait” was out.
    The Spirit was subtle at the time. However as you well know, that when you have been at this “witnessing” thing for awhile, you know what you are supposed to be doing. You find joy in sharing Him. It comes natural. However, this moment the flesh was ruling instead of the Spirit. This was the whole problem. I did not write about the “dead space” time when the opportunity was there. There was time to share. I was just engaged in the “Mr. nice guy mode.
    I will agree with “when I respond to the Spirit given moments is always a wide open door.” Yes, but there are many times that people get “offensive” and call you all kinds of names. I don’t think the people that I was to share with in this post, would have said any one of these manes, but who knows what they might have said after our parting. God knows. It would not have mattered. The point would have been that they got to hear “The Good News” of Christ.
    Yes, the Spirit’s prompting is key.

    Thanks for you input!

    P.S. How about this one. Today I was stocking the shelves at work and guess who came up and thanked me very much for being so helpful? Wow!

  5. ProdigalKnot Says:

    Richard,

    Please do not beat yourself up on this! Your last comment tells me that you were led to talk to her, true. But, you must trust that unless the conversation is steered toward eternal things, her ears would not be open to what you wanted to say. What the Spirit did, I believe, was lead you to
    1. not put yourself into the position of seeming rude
    2. open a door for future conversations with her
    now, you need to
    3. trust Him that He took the conversation where it needed to go

    Remember, the Holy Spirit is the One who convicts of sin and righteousness…not you! The devil is just making you feel you did less than you should have. How can you be so sure? Trust in God! He knows you wanted to share, but her heart must be prepared, perhaps through kindness on your part, to receive the gospel.

    What looks like a door of opportunity to us, may be just a tap on that heart’s door. All in God’s timing. Trust Him, not your feelings. Knowing what I do about you, I do not believe you grieved the Spirit; you simply didn’t achieve what YOU thought you should have. Sometimes what we think are mundane and unimportant events turn out later to be much bigger moves of God than we could have ever imagined.

    Do not grow weary in well doing, because we WILL reap>>>IF we do not give up.

  6. Brad Says:

    Hey Richard,

    I know exactly what you are saying. I too have been guilty of such times and indeed it is very sorrowful. When that happens to me, I always am reminded of how Peter denied Jesus 3 times, but the compassion the Lord showed to him is of great comfort. He knows we are merely dust and I think He allows times like that to humble us and remind us who we are in relation to Him…for now we are merely dust and always in need of His power, His leading, He is the Lord of all and we are His servants.

  7. Richard Says:

    ProdigalKnot,
    Awesome! This post is bringing out some very good thoughts!
    I certainly have not beat myself up over this. It was an awesome learning experience. Quite frankly, they happen all the time.

    I hope in your comment, “unless steered toward eternal things, her ears would not have been open” does not mean that you are of those that think we should say nothing unless the oppertunity opens up? IE, unless something or someone else makes referance to God, we keep silent?

    I am trusting that we will have another oppertunity to share Christ with her.

    Yes, The Holy Spirit convicts. Most certainly! But, we must get the message out there. This is our privelege.

    Thanks for the good thoughts, bro

  8. Richard Says:

    Brad,
    Amen bro! “mere dust” that is what I am!
    Good to here from you!

  9. ProdigalKnot Says:

    Richard,

    I think I mispoke. I simply mean, as you do in your latest post, that God doesn’t expect us to talk when WE want to, but when the Spirit wants us to. I don’t believe in minding my own business if I hear an opening in a conversation, or a book that I can ask about. I, like you, try to let God lead, and not me. You know, and most who know me do, that I am always loking for that opportunity, that leading that pops up when you least expect it.

    I appreciate your post about walking in the spirit, too. I am far too distracted these days…..

  10. Richard Says:

    Amen bro! Led of the Spirit is where it’s at.
    Let us pray for each other to keep focused.
    May you have a Holy Spirit filled week!

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