Ready to Give A Defense

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15)

Word definition: Before we begin, let’s define what a “tract” is. A tract is a little pamphlet, usually about four inches by about three inches, on which is inscribed a little message about how trusting in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins is the “way to go”. _____________________________

It might take a little more than you think to win people to Christ. Let’s, for example, consider the old days (these were the days when I first became a Christian). I was a massive “tract passer outer”. I would take about a thousand tracts (or more), and pass them out to people on the street. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, and I highly encourage each and every person to do that very thing. However, lately, I’ve noticed a new “change” coming upon me — not by my own will doing, but, as it were, by the Lord’s will and doing.

The lady had just served me at the counter, and I had turned to go away. I started walking, and then it dawned on me that I had a bunch of tracts in my upper pocket. I turned around and headed towards her. There she was, about two feet in front of me. Now, not so long ago, I would have pulled out the tract, and said “my stuff”, without really listening to what the Lord was saying in all of it. I mean, I’d just take that tract out, and say something like this: “Here, this is for you. Jesus wants you to be saved.” And that’s a very good thing to do. But sometimes … well, sometimes … you’ve gotta be extra careful. And that’s the thing that I don’t think I was too good at in the old days.

Now my eyes were locked on to this woman’s eyes, whom I had seen before, for I had shopped there before (we’re talking Wal-Mart, friends). So I was not “unfamiliar”. Neither was the Lord unfamiliar with her. The Lord seemed to be speaking to me. “You can either just give her the tract and ruin the whole experience — because you’ll not be sensitive to her, and she’s got a natural predisposition towards not listening to people talk about Christ — or, you can stop dead in your track and listen to what I’m saying!” Woah … ! I stopped “dead in my tracks” and began to listen! Now you have to understand that, when this wonderful thought came to me, I was two feet in front of the woman, looking dead straight into her eyes. So, what did I do? I just plain looked straight into her eyes, and said nothing at all, because I was waiting for the Lord to speak to me, and give me peace about what my next step should be!

With my eyes fixed on hers, and her eyes as well fixed on mine, and with me not about to say anything at all until the Lord spoke … guess what? She spoke! She said something like this: something about store administration or about letting me go out the door (for it was a locked door in the automotive department which required her to push a button in order to let me out). So it seemed like she was thinking that I was now wanting to talk to her about being “let out” through that otherwise locked door. None of it. I was just waiting for the Lord to speak to me! Then, it came. Peacefully, gracefully. I picked up the tract — the Billy Graham tract, that is — and said something to her about, “This guy is really good. He is well respected.” The Lord was “in on this”, too, because I could hear him leading me.

“She wants nothing to do with evangelists. She has a natural predisposition towards not even reading these things. You have to win her over. Talk to her and soften her up a bit … get her interested … help her to overcome the natural biases that she has towards evangelists. Show her that this is a message that is worth reading!” (Now this is not what I would have heard in the old days, when I was not as “tuned in” to what the Lord was saying. Rather, I would have simply tried to pass out tracts “faster and faster” until my 1000 tracts were exhausted.) So, for the next few minutes (perhaps 5), we talked about how this man could be trusted. What would have formerly been a “sure looser situation” if I had simply passed the tract to her and said, “This is for you, please read it,” had now become a possible “winner situation.” And, consider this, too. Even if she did not read that tract then and there, she was now much more open to hearing about the message than she used to be, because her natural biases were starting to be overcome.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15)