Weekly Thought – August 2, 2022
Fred grew up in the home of a Southern Baptist preacher. “Soul winning” burned in the heart of M.B. Smith. All five “Smith boys” grew up hearing their father stand in the pulpit holding his big Bible and powerfully proclaiming the Gospel. Fred’s philosophy of evangelism has helped laymen to comfortably share the good news.
One of my favorite weekends is the annual men’s retreats in Fresno, California. We have established great trust and friendship. However, at the beginning I had to explain that I am not a pastor, ministry leader, nor evangelist. Early in the development of the lay movement it was difficult for the idea of integrating Christian faith into all areas of life feel natural.
In the 1950s the Student Department of the Southern Baptist Convention piloted an idea: send teams of Christian businessmen to college campuses for a week, staying in dorms, fraternity houses, and speaking in chapel, classrooms, and informal sessions. We all had to explain we weren’t ordained preachers – we were business people. The response was positive. “I have never heard a businessman talk about faith like you all do.” We weren’t delivering sermons, or exegeting texts – we were talking about what it meant to follow Christ.
We were not taking the place of pastors – we were expanding their reach.
During these men’s retreats evangelism would always come up. I explained that I didn’t have that gift, but that I wouldn’t avoid talking about faith if it came up naturally. I boiled it down to two words, “Don’t Duck.” Each morning I found peace in praying, “Lord, today I won’t duck. If the subject comes up I will handle it as normally as I would any other subject.”
Talking to others about spiritual matters has never been as easy for me as talking about business. But when I made the Don’t Duck commitment it became a more normal part of my day to day. Once I did that I found the most interesting thing: spiritual issues come up – and they come up as naturally as any other subject. I don’t have to figure out ways to jam it into the conversation. I met a man recently who proudly told me he never leaves a person without challenging him with the gospel. I find staying open strangely provides opportunities repeatedly.
At one particular retreat weekend I talked about my commitment to “Don’t Duck.” An advertising man in the audience had an idea. The next time all the men walked around sporting a large lapel button with a duckhead crossed through with a black line denoting “Don’t Duck.”
When we listen to the Holy Spirit our experiences are beyond anything we could force.
This week think about: 1) How comfortable am I talking about spiritual matters? 2) What would change if “Don’t Duck” became my daily commitment? 3) When can I tell the Spirit is opening up the conversation?
Words of Wisdom: “Don’t Duck.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12 NET Bible)