Some of the things I wondered about before we started going to the park to help with Operation Soup and Smokes was, what exactly were they doing, what role would I be expected to play, what could I possibly do, what would I say, what if someone asked me something that I didn’t know, was I expected to walk up to complete strangers and preach, would I be uncomfortable, would I be gulp, safe?
I don’t know why I thought of some of those questions. Maybe it was because of preconceived notions. Maybe it was because I still had lingering long-drilled religious-ease (is that a word?) talk swirling around in my head that to witness you had to witness.
Sometimes I just need to be reminded. One of the scriptures that the Lord impressed again upon my heart was Acts 1:8. Here is Acts 1:1-10. I’ve included the whole passage so you can see the whole context. Plus, it also is a source of comfort for me to know that those that actually walked with Jesus didn’t really get it sometimes. They needed to be reminded. We are really not so different today.
Acts 1: 1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b]the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
The Bible is clear on what it means to be a witness. It doesn’t say “to witness” it says “be a witness”. It is also clear how the Holy Spirit will do that. We are not left on our own abilities or strengths or knowledge. Whew! That’s a relief. That takes a huge weight off doesn’t it?
Looking back, I also don’t know why I would have thought about being uncomfortable considering the people that were going. I mean they don’t make me uncomfortable. I enjoy their company, I look at the examples of how they are living. Maybe my uncomfortableness was actually self-examination.
Whatever, my initial hesitations were, it finally just came down to “why not?” There was a need, I could cook or bake something. Maybe there wasn’t the money available to provide as much as we could have before, but we could provide what we had. If not cooking or baking, I can serve the food, I can smile, I can talk.
Now as far as what if I was asked something I didn’t know? Well, it isn’t exactly any secret that I can talk. (There is a reason I had “talks to much” on my report cards growing up). I decided that I would have to just have faith that God would provide the words that I needed or the ears to hear or eyes to see what I needed to prompt a discussion. So far that has worked. There definitely isn’t any method other than that. Every week my discussions are completely random with people. (Thinking about that, my brain works pretty randomly at times, so this is a good thing.)
So when we are asked what do we do? This is pretty much it…we are ourselves, loving people, led by the Holy Spirit to be a witness the way He directs.