“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”- Colossians 4:6
The other day I had an impromptu meeting, a random conversation with a stranger, which ended up being an important reminder about engaging people and sharing faith in our normal, everyday settings.
As I was working at Starbucks an elderly man commented on my reading the Bible. As there were no open tables, I invited the gentleman to join me. For the next hour plus we had an engaging conversation on a wide array of topics. During our talk it was clear my new friend did not believe in God, faith, and religion. In fact, he was skeptical at best. He questioned the validity of several things about the Bible and the Christian faith.
During our conversation I was able to share my story of not growing up in the church, answer his claims and questions in a gracious manner, provide perspective based on my knowledge of the Scriptures, speak affirmingly to the man’s convictions and passions. For my new friend the key to long life, prosperity, and a redeemed society came down to MORALITY. He kept on beating that drum, which allowed me to better tune into the Holy Spirit. Immediately, I was drawn to two Scriptures that speak to what this man was seeking and prioritizing.
Micah 6:8- “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Galatians 5:6- “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love.”
As we looked at each of these scriptures the man gleefully exclaimed, “That’s right! That’s it!” By finding a common ground, focusing on what mattered most to him, and seeing what God’s Word said allowed for an open door in the conversation. I believe this approach will lead to future talks, opportunities to share about Jesus, and an open heart from someone who seemed resigned to a life without God in the equation.
I want to encourage us to look to engage people in meaningful conversations. Let’s not shy away from people whose view of God is skewed or uninformed, have a drastically different way of doing life, whose experiences/background is hard to relate to, whose line of thinking is diametrically opposed to ours, and whose tone seems abrasive, guarded, or disinterested. God may be using you as the AGENT to a family member, neighbor, co-worker, classmate, or complete stranger in need of being heard, being valued, and being told the good news and hope that can be found in Jesus! 1 Peter 3:15 tells us, “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.”
Let’s welcome the person to the table, let’s welcome the topic of conversation, and let’s most of all welcome the truth of Jesus to our talks.