Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Banner Of The Cross"1 (Lyrics)
One time when I was working in the Middle East, on my way back from Muscat to the camp where we lived and worked, I picked up six young Omani boys and gave them a ride in the back of my Land Rover. They sat in the back, three on each side, and they sang songs. When we came to the road where the village was that they wanted to go to, I stopped and let them off. They thanked me, waved goodbye, and headed down the desert road to their village, and I returned to the office. When I got there, I noticed that one of them had left a camel stick in my vehicle. I did not know where they were headed, so I kept the stick, and I still have it. It is a very light bamboo stick, three feet long, with a crook at the end.
Camel drivers use these sticks to guide their camels. They tap them on the side of their head if they want them to go this way or that, under the chin if they want them to rise, on top of their head if they want them to kneel so that they can get off, and on their rears if they want them to go faster. The sticks are used as a friendly persuasion to control their camels.
We have noticed the apostle Paul's methods of friendly persuasion at the Bible discussion that I lead at our local Long Term Care Centre. We have been looking at the Book of Acts, and most recently, we looked at the story of Paul pleading his case before King Agrippa. Paul had told him and those with him that he had at first persecuted "the People of the Way", but that, after meeting Christ on the road to Damascus, he had become a Christian as well, and that all he and the others did was tell people about Jesus. He reiterated that they had always done this in the open and not hidden in a corner.
Acts 26:28 – Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." (NKJV)
Sometimes, we meet people who want to know more about our faith in Jesus and what that means to us. As one fellow told me, "Don't preach to them; just talk." I had a discussion with a gentleman on the street one day and I asked him if he had a religion other than Christian. He said he did not; he was a "nothing", he said. I talked with him for a while but as far as I know he has not changed his mind. Successful witnessing is simply sharing Jesus in the power of the Spirit and leaving the results to God.
In my Bible class's study of the book of Acts, we learned that the early apostles never forced their new faith on the people. They did not "hit people over their heads with the Bible" as we sometimes say. No, they talked with people they met, and they used friendly persuasion. And thousands were added to their numbers. What an example for us!
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are so many people who need to be persuaded that faith in You gives us the ability to cope during the difficult times in our lives. We ask that we, too, will have the ability to persuade people to come to faith in You as Saviour and Lord. We offer this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.