Hi, my name is Love and I’m a recovering Pharisee. I was conceived in the parsonage. My father was the minister and my mother was the minister of music. We lived at church and were there every time the doors were open. The only time I was allowed to miss church was when I was sick. And I had to throw up to prove it. But after I threw up my parents would say, “I bet you feel much better now,” and off we’d go to church. I went to a Christian church, wore Christian clothes, had Christian friends, worked in a Christian bookstore, graduated from a Christian college, and married a Christian minister.
Understand that none of the above are complaints. I’ve led a very blessed and protected life, and for that I am truly grateful. The simple truth is that I grew up not knowing anyone who wasn’t a Christian. My entire world was viewed through this extremely thick, rose colored filter of Christianity.
And then my husband, having played baseball all his life, thought it would be a great idea for our church to sponsor a little league baseball team. We would benefit because our sons would grow up playing in that league. And after all, they would be playing on a Christian team, sponsored by a Christian church, with my Christian minister husband as their manager, and with our church phone number, 88-JESUS, on the back of their jerseys. What could be better? It would be a continuation of my childhood! Or so we thought.
There was only one problem. The North Tampa Little League division was a city league and not a church league. That first year we had 17 kids on our team, and our son was the only Christian kid on the roster. And all the non-Christian kids came with non-Christian parents. Parents who cussed expertly, smoked cigarettes, and drank beer—all at the ballpark. Remember, I grew up never knowing anyone who wasn’t a Christian. So that year in little league was my “Damascus Road” experience. The blinding lights of a little league ballpark engulfed me and I could almost hear a voice from Heaven say, “Love, Love, why are you judging and persecuting the families I’m sending to you? They need me!”
God began to soften my heart of stone. For the first time in my life I knew people outside of Christ who desperately needed Jesus. I sat with them. I talked with them. I laughed with them. And I cried with them. I learned that they were going through the same struggles I was going through. The only difference was that I had hope and someone to go to; they were struggling all alone.
That year I fell in love with our little league families. And as my husband and I shared our faith with them, we saw them fall in love with Jesus. We had cigarette butts and beer cans in our church parking lot, but we also witnessed names being added to the Lamb’s Book of Life. I couldn’t begin to count the number of adults and children we baptized into Christ over the next six years through our little league outreach.
God used little league to change my life. He also used little league to change my husband’s life and the personality of our church. We began looking outward instead of inward. We discovered that it was not about those of us who were saved, it was about Jesus and lost sheep.
The spirit of evangelism and sharing our faith has grown strong within our church. We’ve found that evangelism and reaching the lost isn’t about a church program or holding a revival. It’s about individual lights shining brightly in a dark world. It’s about Christian disciples getting creative in the ways we talk to non-believers.
The biggest obstacle we encounter in sharing our faith is a lack of confidence in ourselves. We think God could never use us to change another person’s life, and if he did, we would never have the knowledge or the tools to help. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We’ve read Paul’s words of encouragement in 1 Corinthians 3:6 (NLT): “I planted the seed in your hearts and Apollos watered it, but is was God who made it grow.” That’s really true! The Apostle Paul meant that with all his heart, and he’s the boldest man we know when it comes to sharing Jesus with others.
You don’t have to articulate a great gospel plan of salvation to every stranger you meet. Paul says, “Just drop seeds”! A good salesman has to know his product before he can sell it successfully. So does a Christian. But we mistakenly assume that knowing our product means having memorized the Bible from cover to cover. That may seem impossible, but dropping seeds and sharing our faith is certainly possible.
Let me share with you what your bag of seed contains. It contains your story. God has given each of us an incredible story to share about his faithfulness in our lives since our journey began. And all he wants us to do is to drop the seeds of our story.
I love the themes of the last two North American Christian Conventions, because we, as a brotherhood, are finally getting it right. Dave Stone’s 2016 theme was, “A Better Story.” Gene Appel’s 2017 theme was, “This Is For Everyone.” Faith sharing happens and lives are changed when we take our story and share it with everyone.
In the apostolic instructions of Matthew 10, Jesus told the disciples not to worry about what they were going to say. He explained that he would give them the words and that it would not be them speaking, but the Holy Spirit speaking through them. They simply went out and shared their amazing three-year story of walking with Jesus and he supplied the rest. They trusted him. We can too.
See Value in Everyone
At first it was difficult for me to see value in the little league families who cussed, smoked, and drank. I’d never known people like them. But when I got to know them, I found that they were just like me. They were real people with real problems. The only difference was they didn’t know Jesus. Their incredible value rested in the fact that Christ died for them.
Years ago I heard an evangelist say that whenever you drop seeds and share your faith, you should picture everyone outside of Christ as literally being “on fire.” Picture flames coming off of their body as you talk to them, because without Jesus they really are burning to death. If we truly believe in hell then we must give them the living water that can put out the fire.
We have people in our church with multiple tattoos and piercings sitting next to bank presidents and a hospital CEO. Why? Because they are all valuable to God.
Live Life Intentionally
John chapter 4 says that Jesus went through Samaria. No good, orthodox Jew would do that, but Jesus went there intentionally. He went where religious people did not normally go because he had an appointment at Jacob’s well at noon with a Samaritan woman. And what was the result of Jesus’ intentional visit to Samaria? Revival broke out in Sychar!
The little league park was my Samaria. A place I didn’t want to go, with people I didn’t want to know. Where’s your Samaria? Every restaurant my husband and I visit is Samaria. We look for ways to talk to our server about Jesus. We’ve found our Sychar to be in shopping malls, grocery stores, and Lucas Oil Stadium. Make intentional conversation wherever God leads you, because he sends you everywhere you go to drop seeds.
This week take your bag of seed (your story) with you wherever you go. Be faithful dropping those seeds into the life of everyone you meet. Do it with the character of Jesus, a gentle and humble heart. Then stand back and watch revival break out in Sychar!
Love Lockman is a Christian speaker and Children’s Minister at Seymour Christian Church, in Seymour, Indiana.