Leonard C. Albert
Recently, I heard the story of Larry Walters, a 33-year-old man who decided he wanted to see his neighborhood from a new perspective. He went down to the local army surplus store one morning and bought 45 used weather balloons. That afternoon, he strapped himself into a lawn chair, to which several of his friends tied the now helium-filled balloons. He took along a six-pack of beer, a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, and a BB gun, figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.
Walters, who assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet in the air, was caught off guard when the chair soared more than 11,000 feet into the sky—smack into the middle of the air traffic pattern at Los Angeles International Airport. Too frightened to shoot any of the balloons, he stayed airborne for more than two hours, forcing the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon, causing long delays in flights from across the country.
Soon after he was safely grounded and cited by the police, reporters asked him three questions:
“Were you scared?” “Yes.” “Would you do it again?” “No.” “Why did you do it?” “Because,” he said, “you can’t just sit there.”
Eyes For the Harvest
His answer caught my interest. I have pondered his reply and its implications for some time…”You can’t just sit there!” One prevailing thought emerges in my mind: when it comes to God’s intervention in our lives, we can’t just sit there—we must act! His Word calls for a response—or a reaction—from us especially in the area of evangelism.
Evangelism will become a priority in our lives when we have God’s perspective. All of us see people, but few of us see them with spiritual eyes. Early in Christ’s ministry, He challenged His disciples to see people as God sees them. Christ’s followers were devoted to Him, but they were blind to the task to which their Master had been called. They did not have His compassion for people who were alienated from God. The Lord used several encounters with needy people to help them open their spiritual eyes.
Do you have eyes for the harvest that is all around you, or are you still only seeing people from an earthly perspective?
You Can Win People to Christ
The most fertile ground for evangelism today is through personal relationships. One writer calls it “F R A N gelism,” that is, witness to your Friends, Relatives, Associates, and Neighbors. This is more likely to happen if we see that friendship evangelism is a process, not a project. It begins with cultivation, an approach to the heart; then seed planting, an appeal to the mind; and finally, harvesting, an appeal to the will. There it is, the head, heart and feet! This is the approach. We tell the facts (head knowledge), the Holy Spirit takes it to the heart (sorrow for sin, an 18-inch conversion!), and then there is true repentance with the feet (a turning from sin).
Here is How to Do It
Know Someone. It takes a personal relationship with Christ. We cannot do a spiritual work for Christ unless we have had a spiritual encounter with Him. We must have a life-changing and genuine experience.
Be Someone. Our lives have to back up what we say. People may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do! What you do will always speak louder than what you say. Jesus said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me.” Have you ever heard anyone say, “Humph, well! If that’s what a Christian is like I don’t want any part of it.”
- I’d rather see a sermon lived than hear one preached.
- I’d rather see a conviction demonstrated than hear it defended.
- You’ve got to be like Christ in order to tell of Christ.
- You’ve got to let Jesus be Lord in you before you can say, Jesus is my Lord” to someone else.
Tell Something. Christ must be proclaimed, not defended. You cannot be a secret disciple. It must be a verbal communication. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). One cannot catch a good case of salvation any easier than he can catch a good case of algebra. There are facts that must be explained. God has commanded all of His children to go to those who have not heard and proclaim these facts.
To know Him, be like Him, and tell about Him—that is the secret! When we see people like Jesus saw them and feel for them like He did, we can win them to Christ.
If we have a better understanding of the world, we will know that the unbeliever is not our enemy, but is a victim of the enemy. According to an old legend, a man became lost in his travels and wandered into a bed of quicksand. Confucius saw the man’s predicament and said, “It is evident that men should stay out of places such as this.” Next, Buddha observed the situation and said, “Let that man’s plight be a lesson to the rest of the world.” Then Mohammed came by and said to the sinking man, “Allah has willed it.” Finally Jesus appeared. “Take my hand, brother,” He said, “and I will save you!”