Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Heart and Soul in Witnessing

I wrote a few posts ago about the technical brilliance and the soullessness of much of modern life. While in Norway and Denmark I saw the advance of social and politics that makes sure people live in relative comfort. They call it "A guaranteed quality of life." Scandinavia is the model for Liberals in the USA and we are headed rapidly in that direction.

The problem with such an ideal is the lack of initiative taken by ordinary people to innovate, relate with love and care to each other in a deep manner. It is easier to let the government take care of our problem and problem people. But that does not work very well. People with psychological and relational pain need love, care, kindness and sharing in a community not just pills and a psychiatric hospital staffed by bureaucrats.

It also means that witnessing is frowned upon. So most Christ Followers find it increasingly difficult to share their faith in Jesus. That is way too personal, emotional and agressive.

My seminar in Norway was held in a four star summer resort on the sea. Being winter, the rates with a meter of snow on the ground were low. Some thirty of us came together to grow deeper into personal relationship with God, self and others.

The staff at the resort were attentive and professional.

During one of my sessions on developing personal relationships with others I suggested that building caring relationships is most effective way to witness about Christ's love. I finished the session by asking how many of them knew the names of our servers and if any had spoken to them personally in the first two days of our visit. Few raised their hands.

I had suggested that the Jesus Model as presented in Luke 10 is a great evangelistic model. It tells us to bless people with peace as we go about our business. Then, we are to observe on whom that peace rests because that would alert us to the persons that were interested in Christ.

The group took the hint and thereafter became warmly inviting to the staff. One woman was fluent in Russian and discovered that two of the staff were from the former USSR. They chatted in Russian and the smiles were wide on their beaming faces.

One man asked how he might pray for a waitress and she burst into tears. She later asked him to pray that she would overcome her fear of males so she could develop a healthy relationship with a man.

A Pastor discovered that one of the wait staff was from his hometown and shared his unique way of speaking. They spent hours together reminiscing about the "old days" in the village.

In a few days this caring, Evangelical group of turned on, Spirit filled men and women discovered voices of compassion. They overcame the natural "Scandinavian Shyness" and showed strangers the love and concern of Jesus .

Two other groups were also having conferences at the hotel. They were loud, drunken and having a lot of "fun". The differences between them and us were obvious. We chatted with each other and the staff with warmth, empathy and respect. Some responded back with requests for prayer and understanding their loneliness. Even though sober we had more joy.

Take a look at how powerful respect, love, understanding and warmth can be, even to an atheist.

Gary Sweeten


Vicar of Vincennes said...

I am always fascinated by acts of compassion. what we don't realize and often overlook is that our act of compassion is seed-planting, or watering. A "cup of water given in my name" often times results in a harvest. we do not know if we are watering or maybe a first time planting, but I firmly believe we should keep on scattering, leaving the increase and harvest to God. He is fully capable of managing His crop!

Gary Sweeten said...

Vicar, how right you are. Now I train small groups how to activate themselves as a Luke 10 Outreach Community spreading Peace, Love and "Holy Water" throughout the world.