I’m happy to share with you this guest column by Terry Francis, minister for the East Shelby Church of Christ in Collierville, Tennessee.
The Courage to Ask Her Out
I was never good at the game. I was the funny outgoing band geek that always played the role of “big brother” to the good looking girls. So while I was entertaining everyone, my friends were getting to know girls, collecting phone numbers, asking girls out, and dating. It wasn’t until I was a senior in High School that I finally mustered up the nerve to try to date. My mom would have liked it if I had waited longer I’m sure.
Looking back it’s funny to think about my friends who were playing the game. It was almost a competition to see how many girls they could talk to. It is still common for a group of guys to see who can get the most phone numbers I am told. It’s amazing how bold and confident people can be sometimes.
Another Kind of Courage
There have been times since I have been married that I had the same anxieties I experienced earlier in my pre-dating life. A waiter at a restaurant seems nice and interesting. I know I want to ask them something, but I hesitate. It’s not what you think. My wife is with me in those moments but she’s not what keeps me quiet. It’s my fear of rejection.
You see, there are times I meet a nice hard-working person in every day life and I think to myself, “I wonder if they are in a relationship with God. I wonder if they are saved.” Because of my fear—that same fear I had as a teenager—I sit back and say nothing. I drive away thinking, “I missed a great opportunity there! I should have said something.”
Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is far more important than dating. I wonder how effective we might be if we approached evangelism with the same gusto we did when we dove into the dating world. What if we collected phone numbers for Jesus? What if we tried to see how many personal studies we could set up?
Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). I need to realize the gospel is a better product than I ever was! My fears as a teenager in relation to girls were always “Am I good enough?” or “She’ll think I’m too fat” or “I’m too ugly for her.” My fears of rejection were based in a lack of confidence in me as a product. In short, I was ashamed of who I was. The gospel of Christ is perfect. There is no need to be ashamed. It is flawless. It fits everyone. I can go out and speak to everyone about the gospel with complete confidence.
The Springboard for Your Spiritual Life
I know what the problem is. It’s not that we think the gospel is inadequate. The problem goes back to me: “What if I say the wrong thing? What if I mess up? If they don’t agree to study with me, then I messed up.” Our job is to sow the seed (gospel) whether it grows and blooms into a mature plant or not. In the parable of the soils, three of the four types of ground did not accept the seed (Matthew 13:3–23). That means there will be more failures than successes. But that shouldn’t stop us. Our job is to sow the seed.
I must resolve that I have nothing to fear. Paul told Timothy God didn’t give us a timid spirit (2 Timothy 1:7). I must commit to exercising my power and love given to me by God to teach the gospel to all men.
May God help us all to speak up and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.