While on a pilgrimage walk on the Camino de Santiago (St. James Way) in Spain, I asked some of the most committed and courageous faith-driven business leaders I know to guest contribute to Purposed worKING. Enjoy! – Rusty
“And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.’” – Mark 16:15
Mental images of street corner preachers come to mind along with those of people brandishing picket signs or pacing in-between sandwich boards. I often wondered to what degree their methods served more to reaffirm the suspicions of non-believers or give people an inaccurate representation of our faith. “All the prima donna preachers, make people turn away. But they’re nothing special. Their weakness lies awake.” For the longest time I wondered how and when I would witness. But I should have been asking “HOW would I witness?”
“As it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one…’” – Romans 3:10
“I’ve walked through many streets, but I’ve come home clean…” My own desires to push forward remained on the back burner as life took center stage. More and more I found myself in the presence of non-believers… some of them militantly so. I never kept my belief hidden, but I never volunteered the information. Or so I thought.
Over the years I found myself, not only in the presence of potential persecutors but in their favor as well. At times they became allies and defenders during challenging times. I could have pushed hard to witness as the obedient soldier but, so often, we push our own agenda and not that of God’s. It would feel like a form of idolatry as we try to create God in our own image rather than the other way around.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Over the years I’ve come to realize that there are many ways to witness. In my own situation, God keeps placing unlikely supporters in my path. They’ve come to trust me and, when the opportunity presents itself, I speak of my faith. Somehow, God softens their hearts. Maybe it is because they know that I am a “kid” from the hood who should have developed a certain cynicism and street smart. Maybe, as some have told me, they don’t feel judged by me and are therefore comfortable in not judging me. Maybe it’s because I am aware that “they will know we are Christians by our love.” It happens time and time again. For years I wanted to know how to go about witnessing without forcing my own agenda and I have come to see that the opportunity keeps presenting itself without any effort of my own. I’m pleased and look forward to each new encounter. It appears that I have been witnessing along.
God is funny.