Setting the Scene
Just before his ascension, Jesus’ final command to his disciples was to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19). By extension, this command applies to us Christians this day to preach the gospel and make disciples wherever we find ourselves.
Today, I will be sharing what I have learned about myself and others in sharing the gospel in my workplace.
I am in something of a peculiar situation because I live with my co-workers. Although, it makes it a fertile soil for disagreements and enmity; it also makes for a great opportunity to sow the everlasting seed of the Word of God in their hearts (Matt. 13: 1-23).
Let’s be honest
Let’s be honest, it is easier to share the gospel with a random stranger on the road than with your family member or a co-worker; this is because you share your life with them, in some way. They see you in different situations and circumstances.
My situation is even more peculiar because I live with most of my co-workers. So, nothing about my life can really be hidden from them. Preaching to them involves higher stakes; I would get scrutinized, relationships could get strained, and so many other things could happen.
How I began
The fear will not go away. I know you’re waiting for it to go away but it will not. What you want to do is to act based on truth and not emotions.
I began by preparing a list of heart-searching questions to ask them. I had also resolved to always begin the conversation with the question: “Do you mind if I ask you a question?”. This way, I ensured that at least I got one question in, and in all my workplace evangelism, I followed with the question: “Do you ever think about death?”.
On the reality of death…
From the in-depth conversations I had with a few people, I got the idea that people are numb to the idea of death until it hits pretty close to home. What I mean goes something like this: “I know death exists and we’re all going to die but not me though, y’all stay safe”. In my opinion, people are numb to the reality of death. It is not that they don’t acknowledge it or think that it is not real, but in their heart of hearts, they do not truly think that they could die overnight or something.
When I have these conversations, I always get the sense that people are brought nearer to the reality of death and judgment. However, when I see these same people who were shaken by the imminent reality of death and judgment a few days later, they are back to the vanity fair of life, just like nothing happened. They quickly forget.
Because they quickly forget, we as Christians must determine to always remind them of the imminent coming of the Lord even as we are constantly reminded ourselves in our local assembly. Peter wrote his second letter to remind the Jews of things he told them before (2Pet 3:1-2), Paul told Titus to remind the church in Crete of sound doctrine (Tit. 3:1); we must follow this pattern to constantly remind them of the danger of remaining under the wrath of God (John 3:36).
Familiarity breeds contempt
Another thing I noticed is that those who are professing Christians assume that they are saved. You have to understand that they really believe that whatever experiences they have had are enough for them to hold on to as evidence of their Christianity. Therefore, they are less likely to listen. In fact, in all my interactions, the Muslim co-worker I spoke to was more willing to ask questions than the professing Christians. The thinking goes something like this: Oh, I am also a Christian, I don’t need this.
Get to the gospel
If there is one thing everyone, including a true Christian, needs, it is the gospel–the good news of our salvation. As such, whether you’re speaking to a professing believer or an unbeliever, ensure to proclaim the gospel to them. If a believer, it will encourage them; else, God willing, it will convict them. I ensured that the main thing I spoke about was the gospel.
What is the gospel?
A stumbling block that I noticed in Christian circles here in Nigeria is that there are buzzwords. The word “gospel” has become one of them, such that it has lost part of its true meaning.
The gospel begins with our disobedience to the law of God. Our disobedience deserved death(Gen 2:17). However, God in His mercy did not deal with us as we deserve but sent His Son to obtain the perfect righteousness we could not obtain by living a perfect life and to die the death we deserve by hanging on the cross. By this means, God can now justly free us from our sins–those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ–because His justice has been satisfied by Christ’s death on the cross. The gloriousness of the gospel is that God did not overlook sin, indeed He cannot, He must punish it but rather than punish us, He sent his son to die in our place and also, by His perfect life, clothe us with His perfect righteousness. This is the great exchange (2Cor. 5:21).
The Bible has the answers
After I was done with the message of the gospel, I encouraged questions from the other person(s) and I was sure to answer from the Bible to the best of my ability; especially the difficult questions. I was asked some challenging questions which included but were not limited to: why original sin is attributed to us, why Christ is the only way to God, and what about those who never hear the gospel. These were difficult questions to answer but thank God, in His Word, we found answers to the questions.
Salvation belongs to the Lord
While I do a lot of research and talking, it was important for me to realize that salvation does not lie in my hand or in the eloquence of my speech or in the depths of my research. Salvation belongs to the Lord. Therefore, every time I pray, I ensure to pray to the One who can truly save that He might save them.
How about your life?
The reality is that the way I live speaks more about what I believe than whatever I preach to my co-workers. They live with me, they see me as I am. There is no aspect of my character that is hidden from them. Therefore, I am to exude Christian values. This does not mean that I am always in the right. Far from it. There are times, many times, that I am in the wrong and I have to humble myself to ask for forgiveness. However, it also means that I have to live in the light of the truth that I know.
Going through this exercise has helped me to gain a greater insight into my hesitation to preach the gospel to those close to me. It helped me understand how a greater fear for God and a genuine care for souls were the primary anchors even when the storm of fear raged within my heart.
Some of those you work with are souls heading down the path of destruction, you must recognize this in order to be radical and committed to witnessing the gospel. If you are a Christian and you truly believe that the gospel is the only way to salvation, please don’t rest on your hands, persuade men, beg them that they may come to the God who saves.
May the Lord help us to be steadfast in the ministry of the most important thing in the world–the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.