God calls us to plant the seeds of faith and let Him grow the rest.
The cross is made of barnwood and barbed wire. Rough to the touch and razor sharp. But when it hangs in my living room it emits a radiant glow.
Its jagged and hard edges remind me of my brokenness, while its honey warmth shines with the glorious light I have found in Jesus Christ. It’s a cross my father made and it is a gift I didn’t value; at least not until I picked up my cross to follow Him.
Relentless is a word I use to describe my father. He wanted me to accept Jesus so badly that there wasn’t a day that he didn’t bombard me with His message.
When he wasn’t outright demanding, he sent Christian gifts he’d fashioned with his own hands. Besides the cross, I also received a carving of a church and verses burned onto pieces of barnwood. His only Christmas gift one year was leather-bound study Bible.
I shamefully admit I once hid his gifts away. I hung the cross and barnwood pieces where I could not see them. The Bible sat in a drawer, unopened for seven years. But my father continued his relentless pursuit. He prayed for me and he never gave up, even when I told him things like: “I refuse to drink the Kool-Aid” and “I don’t believe in organized religion.”
But in the seventh year—during one of the most difficult periods of my life, my heart softened as the Holy Spirit began to work in me. I opened that Bible, began going to church, and surrendered my life to Jesus. Today, my father’s artwork hangs throughout my home as a constant reminder of both my earthly and my heavenly Father’s love for me.
My father isn’t the only one who invited me into a relationship with Christ. There is that friend who took a Midnight call to pray with me, the one who who taught me to release my shame by telling me how Jesus made me new, and the one who invited me repeatedly to go to church with her, until I did. Their efforts planted the seeds of faith and the Holy Spirit helped them grow.
God calls all of us to be relentless in our faith talks. Our job is to connect ourselves to Him then invite others to do the same. Jesus tells his disciples to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16: 15-16).
Be a Light
There’s a woman in my life group whose eyes sparkle and voice trembles when she talks about God. Her abundant joy overflows and as you listen to her speak, you just want what she has. She is a light I find myself drawn to, like a moth to a flame.
She embodies what we are called to be in Matthew 5:16, when Jesus says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Some of us struggle with showing such outward displays of faith. The good news is one of the easiest and best ways to share your faith is to live a Godly life. We can make a habit of reading the Bible, going to church, and responding to the heavenly nudges that call us to share our testimony with others.
When you’re passionate about Christ in every part of your life, it shows. People see something different about you and want to know what it is. We can reflect Christ through kind words and actions, patience, and a generous and gentle spirit. We can treat others with respect, choose to love even difficult people, forgive those who hurt us, and help those who need us.
And, when we care for the widow, help the poor and disadvantaged, or forgive the unforgiveable, we become a light in the darkness that draws others in and makes them want to know more.
Don’t be Afraid
My dad tells this story about a ray of light streaming through the church’s stained-glass windows as he poured out his troubles to the Lord. He recalls that the light shone so bright and beautifully that he felt a peace stir within his heart. In that moment, he knew everything would be OK if he put his trust in God.
My Dad isn’t shy about sharing this story, especially with his children and grandchildren. He shares the moment he gave his life to Christ. He tells what God did for him and why they too need God in their lives. And, he’s often met with resistance.
Fear of rejection and of sounding stupid can stop us from sharing our beliefs. We may think we don’t know enough or are too insignificant to have an impact. Even Moses felt that way. Remember in Exodus how Moses told the Lord, he wasn’t the right person for the job because he didn’t speak well enough? Then the Lord sent his brother Aaron to speak for him.
Jesus has done the same for us!
When we are afraid to share our faith because we don’t know what to say, there is a heavenly messenger to help us. Jesus promises that He will give us the right words when he says, “for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Luke 12:12).
Never Give Up
My father keeps a prayer wall in his bedroom. It’s covered with notes scribbled on scrap paper. Pray for this person’s illness or that person’s son. Pray for this man who lost his job or that woman who lost her home. A crumpled note reminding him to pray for his prodigal daughter once sat on that very board.
His prayer wall reminds me to never give up. He prayed continuously for me and shared the Gospel, and I resisted his every effort. But he stayed the course.
His actions taught me to persist even when you’re met with a big fat, ‘No.’ Our job is to share the good news not to change others’ hearts. We cannot force others to accept God’s truth—only God can do that. But that doesn’t mean we stop trying. We must issue the invitation and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
Relentless may be a word I attach to my father’s pursuit of me but it’s also a word we can attach to our witnessing. When God calls us to share our testimony, we must speak as boldly as the prophet Isaiah when he heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
He didn’t tell God: This is too hard, I’m not good enough and I don’t know what to say. He said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8).
When we say, “Here am I. Send Me,” we may experience the joy my father did as I was baptized. There is no better feeling than seeing a loved one, a friend, or an acquaintance begin to walk with the Lord.
But even if they never do, the cross hanging in my living room reminds me to never stop trying. We are here to plant the seed and let God grow the rest.