Witnessing sharing faith gospel evangelism
I was in Katmandu Nepal. A young chattering boy wanted a coin, so I gave him one. Little did I know dozens of opportunists along the narrow walking street were watching and immediately they pounced on the vulnerable guy who had revealed his big heart! Me. Suddenly I was swarmed with clambering hands and eager eyes staring longingly into mine. Like bees who had found honey.
This was high comedy for my travel mates who were were following me. I started moving rapidly down the ancient street but the babbling hopeful swarm was not daunted by my speed and long legs. The kids saw my pace as a game and they were up for it – laughing all the way, the tangle of brown skin traveled with me knowing eventually I would break down. Much to my friends amusement and joy not one beggar approached them! The whole hive cheerfully fixed their hopes on me and succeeded.
Finally, I stopped and passed out coins to everyone. The victorious gang dispersed — all that is, except for three. One, a boy about 14, with one leg too short that made him wobble when he walked. The second, a man who was trying to sell me a tiny metal mouth harp that he was incessantly strumming to show me it’s insanely annoying merits. And third, a fair faced mother with her nine month old baby wrapped around her front.
I began my rapid pace again hoping to shake them off — but these three were not going to let me go! We walked at rapid clip for about a kilometer with the boy asking for paper money, and the man “boing,” “boing,” “boinging” his mouth harp, and the mother telling me in Nepali she needed milk for the baby over and over and over.
My big heart exploded after that kilometer, and I bought the Jew’s harp, and gave the boy a bill of some size. But the attractive Nepali mother with bright eyed babe would not take my money. No, she insisted that her and I go together to a pharmacy to buy powered milk. She walked me down the aisle of the pharmacy – and would not touch the product on the shelf herself, but made me pick it up, and walk it to the front, and buy it. She was delighted and then disappeared.
In the fresh quiet of not having the harp strumming in my ear, I thought about all that had happened. Why was money not acceptable to this woman? Why did she want ME to buy her baby milk, even though the money offered was more than the milk cost?
Upon reflection I struck on one word: Dignity
Here we come upon a certain truth at the heart of Christ’s method of working for souls — namely he aimed to preserve dignity.
- Why else would he pause to pick up the severed ear of a man who had come to witness Jesus’ arrest?
- Why else would he initiate a meal at a despised tax collectors home?
- Why else did he cloth the man who had a legion of demons cast out of him?
Dignity was paramount to Jesus’ work.
In your soul winning work honor others. Here are three tools:
a) Dignity grows when people are asked, not told. Dignity yearns to be in the drivers seat of one’s own life. Example: Jesus, who created the eyeball had the patient respect to ask the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41) Isn’t it obvious? Shouldn’t Jesus have just healed him? That wasn’t Jesus’ method, instead he allowed a blind beggar to be in control of his own future.
Key: Rather than handing people goals how can you ask questions that help them discover their goals?
b) Dignity recognizes that a person’s current situation doesn’t define them. Terrible poverty, doesn’t diminish human value. We are made in the image of God — impoverished Jesus, pinned to a cross, credited a thief with eternal rewards. How we too must keep circumstance and value separate so dignity can thrive. When working with people don’t let their house, their clothes, their habits, or their past beliefs alter the dignity we give them.
Key: How can you help others who have confused their own value because of their circumstance?
c) Dignity is largely communicated without words. You are an ambassador of Christ — consider those you meet as dignitaries! Sit where people sit, eat what others eat, shake hands, trust, and treat people as honorable. In this way their hearts will aspire for the noble calling that God has on their life.
Key: How can you communicate worth without speaking it?