Note: In his latest book, A Mentor’s Wisdom, Larry Moyer reveals 45 lessons learned from his late mentor Haddon Robinson. Enjoy the following excerpt!
Lesson 43: “Everyone you meet is going to live forever; the only question is where. What are you doing to make the difference?”
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)
People follow their leaders, congregations follow their pastors, and students follow their professors. In many things, they are more apt to do what the leaders do than what their leaders say. That means in evangelism that if the leaders talk about the lost, followers talk about the lost. If the leaders talk to the lost, followers talk to the lost. Interacting with Dr. Robinson was so energizing, because it was in his company that I truly felt my gift of evangelism grow and thrive. I had wanted to talk to the lost already, but even more so as I spent time with him.
I think one reason Dr. Robinson had such a concern for the lost was his mature and eternal perspective on life. He often meditated on what is important in life and what isn’t. Material possessions don’t matter. They will go up in smoke. It’s people who truly matter. As a result, probably nothing he shared with me have I repeated more than his above statement. He did not just say it, though; he believed it. That is why he would talk to the lost.
One of my favorite stories he told me was when he conversed with a man who quite bluntly told him that he had no concern for “that stuff.” With a spirit of truth and grace, Dr. Robinson asked him how much time he had spent seriously considering the claims of Christ. The man admitted that he had not given those claims thought or evaluation. Dr. Robinson encouraged him to do so and reminded him, “I have a lot more respect for the person who thinks it through and rejects it than the one who doesn’t take the time to give them serious consideration.” That comment pierced the man to the extent that he agreed to at least consider who Christ claimed to be.
I did weeklong outreaches for twenty years and saw many come to Christ. After all those years, I noticed that it is harder to get people to church and out during the week. I think this could be because the message never changes, but the method does. I knew Dr. Robinson often spoke at “Friendship Dinners”—a gathering Christians invite their non-Christian friends to attend. People knew that the evening and dinner was spiritual in nature. After some songs, a testimony, and dinner, a message was given. To switch things up, I decided to do “Friendship Dinners” and loved them because often just under half of the audience was unbelievers. It was Dr. Robinson’s experience and advice that so helped me develop that outreach as well as EvanTell.
Some people are open to change right now, and you can make an immediate difference in their lives through evangelizing:
- Help your church sponsor an evangelistic outreach.
- Invite a non-Christian friend of yours to an outreach event.
- Invite non-Christian neighbors over for dinner with the hope of sharing the gospel with them in your home.
- Reach out to a neighbor in need. Helping them with a physical need may allow you both to grow a friendship and eventually encounter the opportunity to discuss spirituality.
- Invite a coworker to watch the Super Bowl with you. Contact now may open up conversations later.
- Ask a coworker to go to lunch with you and seek to engage in a thoughtful, gentle spiritual discussion.
- Do business with non-Christians.
- Write a letter to a lost relative telling them what they mean to you and clearly explain the gospel.
- Thank a grocery store clerk for her friendly service, give her an attractive tract that clearly explains the gospel, and invite her to call you with any questions.
The possibilities are almost end-less. The more non-Christians you know, the more opportunities there are. You can make a difference in anyone’s life right now.
Because of Dr. Robinson, I now look at everyone I meet as “forever” people. Whether they will be in heaven or in hell, they will be there forever. John 3:36 uses the present tense. At this very moment people either already have eternal life and will be forever in his presence, or the wrath of God abides on them. If nothing changes, they will be forever separated from him. God has given us the privilege of being difference makers, so let’s use our opportunities to show them God’s love for them.