Sharing the Hope We Have

by Scott Snow

Jesus told His disciples that He “came to seek and save what was lost” (Luke 19:10 NIV) and, ever since, He calls His faithful followers in every generation to join Him in the sacred mission of sharing the hope, peace, forgiveness, and joy that comes through faith in Jesus alone!

There are those days and times when we actively, intentionally, and willingly engage in conversations of grace, asking God to bless His Word as we speak it and to bless those who hear it. There are other days when we don’t initiate these “faith talks,” but God intervenes in ways that make it clear to us that He is giving us the opportunity to gently, lovingly share the hope that fills us as believers in Christ.

In either case—whether we intentionally initiate the conversation or find ourselves as “accidental missionaries”— we want to be prepared to give a winsome, joy-filled witness.

1208sharing1.jpgUnique and “special” moments may indeed provide us with the opportunity to share our faith. At the same time, we also want to be watchful and ready for those everyday faith-sharing occurrences which so often seem to slip by unnoticed until we look back at them, wishing we had been more eloquent or regretting that we said nothing at all.

The apostle Peter reminds all believers, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience” (1 Peter 3:15–16). The apostle Paul charged his friend, the young pastor, Timothy, to be “prepared in season and out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2) to proclaim the Word of God, correcting, encouraging, and instructing with patience and care.

1208sharing2.jpgIt may not always seem easy to share our faith with others, but we certainly don’t want to miss the divine opportunities that God Himself places before us in the people with whom we interact every day. So, all believers—pastors, professional church workers, and laity—will want to be ready to tell others about Jesus, about God’s plan of salvation, about what He has done to rescue us from sin and eternal death, and about the full life of faith He gives to us now and in eternity.

As Kathy Reed, the author of the accompanying story observed, “Each of these conversations [is] unique, depending on each individual’s beliefs and questions.” And so, too, our witness will be thoughtfully and appropriately “tailored” to meet the heart questions of our hearers.

Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and pray that God would help you to see, and seize, the opportunities to bring a message of hope and salvation to a friend, associate, neighbor, family member, school-mate, or “casual daily contact” by confessing Him before them.

1208sharing3.jpgIf not every day, then nearly every day, God provides each believer in Christ with opportunities to share the life-giving message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone. There are dozens of personal evangelism tools (PETs), tracts, and other resources to help individuals, schools, and churches “be prepared” to do so. Many of these can be located on the Ablaze! Web site. Visit lcms.org/ablaze and click on the button for “Resources.”

For more information, ideas, suggestions, and help in being “prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you,” contact your LCMS district office or reach us (World Mission) at the LCMS International Center, 800-433-3954.

The Lutheran Witness — Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
complement congregational life, foster personal growth in faith, and help interpret the
contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

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