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St. Patrick’s day really is a “witnesser’s jackpot”! It’s a day where thousands of people gather on the sidewalks and streets and do nothing except pick up candy and watch a few floats go by…or drink beer. Often they having nothing to do as they are waiting for the parade to start and they are eager to talk. Below is a summary of one of the witnessing conversations I got into last year.
“Hey, I’m taking a survey—would you mind answering some questions?” I asked two guys and a girl who looked like they were in their mid-twenties.
“What’s it about?” they replied.
“It’s about St. Patrick and the 10 commandments…” I answered.
“Oh, we’re bad people,” they said and laughed as they took another drink from their beer bottles. But one guy said, “Sure, I’ll take the survey”.
“Okay!” I replied, “The first question is, ‘Where was St. Patrick born?’”
“Nope! Nice try, but he was actually English. He was captured as a slave and brought to Ireland. Second question: ‘Why do you think St Patrick was such a great person?’”
“Uh…he was Irish and he drank beer?”
“Uh, no, sorry.” I smiled, “He was a missionary and brought the gospel to Ireland. The third question is, “Do you consider yourself to be a good person?”
“No, I’m bad!” he emphasized.
“Yeah, he is!” his friends told me. “He’s going straight to hell!” they joked.
I continued, “The forth question is, If God judged you by the 10 commandments would you be innocent or guilty?”
“That’s for sure!” his friends added.
“Would you like to know the way St Patrick preached we could be 100% sure we are going to Heaven?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said.
“Well, St Patrick preached that we have all sinned and when God judges us we’ll all be guilty. But when Jesus died on the cross, He was taking the punishment that we deserved from God—it’s like we switched places with Jesus—and He took our punishment. That doesn’t mean the whole world is going to Heaven now—but it means that those who choose to come to God and follow Him can, because He made a way for us to be forgiven.”
I was thrilled to see a serious look in his eyes as I said this—I could tell he was comprehending what I was saying.
His friend interrupted, “Are you saying that my friend’s going to hell because he is Irish and he drinks?”
“You weren’t listening, were you?” I replied.
“He never listens!” replied the more serious guy who had just taken the survey, “But I heard you,” he said.
Wow, those words really made the whole talk worth it to me! I thanked him and left him with a tract.
After the parade was over, we shared stories as we ate our bagels. Some very good reports were shared and we were encouraged by the good talks we had gotten into that afternoon. Praise the Lord who is faithful to do through us what He calls us to do!
“Faithful is He that calleth you who also will do it.” (1 Thess. 5:24)
Not everyone I talked to last year at the parade was receptive, but I expected that. I often remind myself that we can’t see inside the hearts of those we talk with. They may have been truly influenced by what we said to them, but they don’t admit it right then. However, they will go home and think about it. (And we can go home and pray for them!)
A sucessful witnessing conversation is not leading someone through a little prayer to “ask Jesus into their heart.” A sucessful witnessing conversation is leading someone to understand the truth of eternity and their Creator’s amazing plan of salvation.