Sharing the Gospel During Times Like These
by Luke Boswell, Elder
What a great opportunity we have in front of us in the COVID-19 virus! This statement might seem offensive to you. I do not mean to diminish the seriousness of the pandemic that we face. I do not mean to be cold and callus to the fact that many people are suffering and dying. I do not mean to make light of the countless people in quarantine all around us. Please, let me explain myself.
All too often, our American culture can be a shallow culture. Normal conversation topics might include the weather, sports, a good recipe just tried, or fun weekend activities. Or we may talk about good movies or shows on Netflix, our pets, the new restaurant that just opened, what we just purchased on Amazon, or the traffic around Seattle. Conversations with co-workers, neighbors and random acquaintances pre-COVID-19 were pretty light and fluffy. Oh, how quickly things have changed!
I work at a hospital, and pretty much the only thing people are talking about is the COVID-19 virus. The fear of sickness and death is running completely rampant. Light and fluffy conversations with folks have now taken a dark and serious turn. Normal conversations post-COVID-19 are about how many people have died so far, which state or country is now in mandatory quarantine, and how many cases have popped up in Skagit County since yesterday. People wonder what will happen if a loved one gets sick, if a friend gets sick, or if they get sick. These are great opportunities for us as believers to turn these conversations toward our hope in Christ.
Yesterday an unbelieving co-worker turned to me and said, “Luke, what do you think about all of this? Are you afraid?” I was almost speechless. This was an invitation to share my faith and present the Gospel at work! These are the types of questions we pray we will be asked. My answer was, “Do you mean am I afraid of death? No, I am not afraid of death. Because of my faith in Jesus Christ I know where I am going when I die.” (John 5:24) He said, “Yeah, I hope that I have done enough good things before I die so I can go to a better place, too. My theory is that this life is a test, and how you do at this test determines where you end up.” I said, “If this life is a test of how good I am, I know that I have failed that test long ago. From my birth I have done things that the Bible calls sin and because of that I have failed this test. (Romans 3:23) My only hope is that I put my faith in One who did not sin at all. Jesus lived a perfect life and He died on the cross for me and my sin. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Faith in Jesus is the only way that I can go to Heaven. He is my only hope, I cannot get there on my own.” (John 14:6)
That was the end of our conversation, but because of the grace of God, I was able to plant a Gospel seed in my co-worker’s heart. I share this conversation as an example of what God is doing in the hearts of unbelievers during these times. People are desperate for answers and searching for hope during this uncertain time.
I will end this with a couple of challenges for us as believers.
Are you as a believer “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in you”? (1 Peter 3:15)
When we look up the death count in Skagit County, Washington State, the USA, or the world, we need to remember these statistics are eternal souls. Many of those souls will spend eternity in Hell because they did not believe in Jesus Christ as Lord. Are you willing to tell people about the hope that you have in Christ?
We currently have no cure or vaccine for the COVID-19 virus and therefore many are dying, but we do have salvation from eternal death through Christ Jesus. The question for you and me is, will we share this good news with the people around us? Does your heart break for the unbeliever as expressed in this Puritan’s prayer?
- “My heart would melt to see their houses on fire when they were fast asleep in their beds. So is my soul moved within me to see them endlessly lost?” (Joseph Alleine)
There are a couple of quotes from Charles Spurgeon in the midst of the cholera outbreak of 1854 in London that I think are challenging and helpful to our situation now.
- “Take advantage of any opportunities you might have to preach the gospel to those who are afraid.”
- “As we entrust our lives to God and faithfully carry out our responsibilities, we have an opportunity to demonstrate what hope and peace look like in the midst of death.”
We cannot do this work on our own. We need help. We need God’s help. So please join me in prayer that the Lord would orchestrate opportunities for us to share with unbelieving people. Let’s pray that when these opportunities arise, we will recognize them and take them. Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit will help the unbeliever’s heart to be soft toward the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s pray like the apostles did in the early church, “Lord, … grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness.” (Acts 4:29)
My prayer for you and me is that we would see the great opportunity for Gospel conversations that has been sovereignly set before us in the COVID-19 virus.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)