But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.
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…
~ 1 Peter 3:15 ~
This week I went on an errand to the local Walmart. Two young men were outside the store asking for donations to an organization. They saw me coming, and one of them said, “Hey! Look! It’s a BIG pumpkin!” He had a big grin on his face and was not being disrespectful, so I smiled at them.
I couldn’t blame him for calling me a “BIG pumpkin!” because I was wearing burnt orange Bermuda shorts and a pumpkin colored t-shirt.
I walked into the store and got what I needed. When I went outside and walked toward them, the same young man, said, “She’s back! It’s the BIG pumpkin lady! And she’s ready for Halloween!”
I replied, “I don’t celebrate Halloween.”
“Oh, I didn’t mean to make fun of you by calling you a BIG pumpkin,” he said.
I smiled, “You didn’t. I just want you to know that I’m a true follower of Jesus Christ. And to be honest with you, light and darkness don’t mix.”
The other young man said, “Yea, Jesus is in all of us.”
To which I responded, “No, He’s not. I was a big time sinner, and He was not in me then. But He came to me and found me when I needed Him the most and I gave my heart to Him.”
They both stared at me like I was speaking a foreign language, so I spoke of something they might know. “You know how Linus has that big pumpkin he waits for on Halloween?” Blank stares. “You know, from Charlie Brown’s Halloween movie about a great, big pumpkin that Linus waits for every year to visit him?” Their eyes opened in recognition and they nodded up and down.
“Well, think of that huge pumpkin as a backpack on my back. It had all my sins in it and I couldn’t carry it anymore because it was so heavy and unbearable. When Jesus found me and I gave my life to Him, He took it away!”
They politely listened, though I knew they were getting antsy. After a few more pleasantries, I walked away. But, I heard one say to another, “Hey, I didn’t mean to get a sermon out of…” I didn’t hear the rest of it, but it’s an encounter I don’t want forget. I hope they don’t either, so that tiny seed about Jesus will somehow break through their hearts and take root. I’d like to see them in heaven one day.
The lesson is to always be ready to give a brief testimony of who Jesus Christ is, “making the most of every opportunity” that presents itself. Paul helps us to understand this in Ephesians 5:8-17:
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Father, thank You for the opportunities You place before us to be able to testify of Your Son, Jesus, with respect and gentleness, and sometimes, with humor. We ask You to help these young men, and those to whom You lead us, come to know how much You love them—its width, length, height, and depth. In Jesus’ name, the name above all names, the name that is mighty to save, amen.