Being a Witness Wherever You Go

November 11, 2019

We have countless brief encounters with others during a week. Let’s make the most of them!

By Bobbi Downey

H

ave you ever wished for more opportunities to be a witness? That thought certainly has crossed my mind at times. I work at our church headquarters office, and am involved in numerous church activities. Most of the people I see on a daily basis are already Christians. When I do come in contact with people outside of my church family, it is often very brief, like standing in line at the store. Also, being shy in general, it is difficult for me to speak with people I don’t know. Yet, in Matthew 5:16 Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” Recently something caught my attention that helped broaden my perspective on making the most of every opportunity to shine our lights.

While thinking about the words of a Christian song I had heard a few times, the message suddenly registered with me. It spoke of letting our lights shine to those we see in passing. I was reminded that witnessing is not always about having a lengthy theological conversation with a stranger. We can share the love of Jesus in small ways, letting the Holy Spirit shine through us by our demeanor and our actions. Although we may not always have an opportunity to say much to those around us, our lights can still shine out to them. And doing so can sometimes reach much further than we realize.

Witnessing to others can be compared to sowing seeds. The seeds may seem tiny, but just a small seed of faith or love planted in someone’s heart can be a great start. God may have plans for someone else to follow later with the watering of that seed.

Witnessing to others can be compared to sowing seeds. The seeds may seem tiny, but just a small seed of faith or love planted in someone’s heart can be a great start. God may have plans for someone else to follow later with the watering of that seed. Like Paul the Apostle said, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6). We just need to be willing to do what we can, and in the end, God will give the increase.

Of course, if we have an opportunity to actually speak a word for the Lord it is important to be in tune with the Holy Spirit’s leading. But when we don’t have that chance, by giving a smile, a kind word, or a friendly gesture, we can sow that seed. Here are a few examples.

On the road

Sharing God’s love while driving may sound like a strange mission field. We can’t actually tell other drivers how much Jesus loves them, but we can show it by our actions. When we face inconsiderate or inattentive drivers we can be patient, kind, and considerate—even the expressions on our faces can give an indication of the peace of God inside us.

As we travel, our testimonies will be seen by those riding in the vehicle with us as well as other drivers. We may think those other drivers do not know us, but as is often said, “It’s a small world.” How often do we see people we know pass by in a vehicle? Now just think about how often we may not notice an acquaintance pass by. Being patient and considerate drivers will leave a positive impression on those around us.

It is also likely that as we drive in a parking lot, for instance, we will see the other drivers inside the place of business once we park and go inside. As Christians, we want to drive in such a way that anyone we see would be happy to meet us and would be open to what God might give us an opportunity to say for Him.

In the workplace

Have you ever been falsely accused of mishandling your work? That happened at one of my past jobs, and it was not a pleasant experience. An account had not been handled correctly and the person in charge came to me with the paperwork, very unhappy, wondering why it was handled the way it was. The Lord helped me to remain calm, assess the situation and figure out that the paperwork had actually been mismarked, and that I had handled it appropriately according to what it said. My co-worker was satisfied and our relationship remained intact.

Mistakes and misunderstandings can happen in the workplace or anywhere. We may not have a chance to share our full testimony, but the way we handle these situations will give a good indication to those around us of what we stand for. Acting with honesty, humility, patience, and respectful communication can often defuse a difficult situation, and our lights will shine brightly to those around us—whether they are directly involved or just onlookers.

Out and about

Whether we are getting a coffee, shopping for groceries, or just running errands, we can show the love of Jesus to those around us. Sometimes life gets busy and we may feel rushed, racing through the day trying to get things done. These can be prime times to let our lights shine, if we are willing to make the effort. Showing patience to those who dawdle in front of us when we’re in a hurry is not easy. Letting someone with only two items go ahead of us in the checkout line when we have a full cart may seem like time we can’t afford. But these are ways we can shine our lights to others.

So many people are facing very difficult challenges in their lives, and many are facing those challenges without Jesus.

An author once said, “If you treat everyone as though they are hurting, you will be treating the majority of people in the proper manner.”[1] So many people are facing very difficult challenges in their lives, and many are facing those challenges without Jesus.

As we look at those around us, keeping this in mind can give us a little more patience with the shopper who cuts in front of us, or the cashier who is less than friendly. We don’t know what is going on in their lives. But we do know that Jesus can help them! If we are patient with them, showing love, it can give them that little bit of grace they need. They may wonder what would cause us to act in such a way, opening an opportunity to share more.

My husband and I frequently travel through Roseburg, Oregon, on our way to visit family in the Medford area. We often stop at a certain place for gas, and there is a particular man there who has helped us more than once. He caught my attention because of his kind words. He doesn’t say a lot, but each time he thanks us, tells us to have a good weekend, and wishes God’s blessing for us and our family. His sweet attitude and those few words speak volumes. What a light he is, just working at the gas pumps!

At home

Have you ever hired someone to do work on your home? Maybe they replaced your roof, remodeled your kitchen, or fixed your plumbing. Though our conversations with these people may be brief, there are many things they will see, including the peace in our homes, our pure speech, our honesty and kindness, and the way we treat others. Each person who passes through our doors brings opportunities to share Jesus.

One of our retired pastors tells of a remodel project that took place in his home, which gave him and his wife several opportunities to let their lights shine for the Lord. He said, “By the time the job was finished, everyone had mentioned that they had never worked on a job like this before. To my wife and me, our Christian witness came before every other aspect of the job. We did not try to take advantage of the workmen, but rather showed them the kindness that Jesus has shown to us.”

Our neighbors are also a mission field. Some may become close friends over time. Others we may only smile and wave to in passing. Whatever the case, we can be sure they notice our lives. When our previous next-door neighbor moved in, my husband would chat with him on occasion, but had not yet mentioned our faith. One day that young man came over with a friend to help my husband on a project. He told his friend that my husband was a Christian! Somehow he had come to that realization without being told, but by observing my husband’s life. When a fire later destroyed this neighbor’s shed, I was able to say a word to them, offering our prayers.

Wherever we go

If ever there was a people who had a reason to be joyful, it would be Christians. We have the peace of God in our hearts! Our sins are forgiven and we know we are ready for Heaven. Jesus is our best Friend and He helps us day by day through the challenges of life. This joy should show on our faces wherever we go. “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance” (Proverbs 15:13). In this dark world full of pain and sorrow, what better testimony can we give than that of a cheerful countenance? It will certainly be noticed!

As we go about our day, we don’t usually have the opportunity to share the whole Gospel story with those around us. We want what we do say to have an impact whenever possible. We want our attitudes, actions, and even reactions to be full of God’s love. On occasion, someone might even ask us how we are able to react the way we do, giving us an opportunity to explain. May we always be ready to give an answer to every man that asks a reason of the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15). We want to sow the seeds of God’s love to those around us in spoken and unspoken ways. If we are faithful to do our part, God will use our efforts and bless them. Only in Heaven will we see the full results.


[1] “Remembering Zig Ziglar” by the Booth Brothers, Gospel Music Quarterly, Jan 12, 2013, www.imcconcerts.com/gospelmusicquarterly.php, accessed Sep 26, 2019.

About the author

Bobbi Downey is a member of the Editorial Staff at the Apostolic Faith Church Headquarters Office in Portland, Oregon.