Tuesday, August 07, 2007

How to Witness Without Really Witnessing

While on vacation in Ohio, a Christian friend who works as a home health aide told me about an incident at work: "I was marveling to my patient how she handled her difficulties. And then, the patient replied, 'I can't complain here because the way you get into heaven is to work really hard at it.'"

The patient's false belief about eternal life quickly changed the admiration of the Christian aide into shock. My friend said, "I wanted to tell her that good works don't save you, but if I did that, I could get in trouble with my job."

So how can you be faithful to Christ, yet faithful to your employer? Is it even possible?

I think it is. In fact, Jesus himself shows us the way.

Tell a story.

When you tell a story, you can be direct, yet indirect at the same time.

Here's what I suggested. Next time you visit this lady in her home, tell her you heard this story:

Once upon a time there was a man who came upon a vending machine that said, HEAVEN. The man said, "Wow, I'd like that." So the man reached into his pocket and took out a coin of good works. He put it into the vending machine and pressed the button.

But nothing came out. He pressed the button again, banged on the machine, but still nothing happened.

So the man reached into his pocket again and put another coin of good works into the machine. "It just needs another coin," the man said. But each time the man put in a coin and pressed the button, the vending machine still did not respond. Discouraged, but determined, the man kept putting in his coins.

Then one day, an old man walked by and noticed the man who had been standing at the vending machine for so long. The old man asked, "What coins are you putting into this machine?" The man replied, "These good work coins." The old man responded, "Oh, lots of people have tried those coins. But they don't work in this machine."

Then the old man reached into his pocket and pulled out a coin with a picture of Jesus on it. "Here, try this coin. You only need one. It works every time."

And it did. And the man walked home very happy.

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