Summary: If you want to overcome your fear of introducing people to Jesus, KNOW that you are part of God’s holy temple and God’s special people, designed to be a living display of His greatness. Then BE the witness God has called you to be.
The abbot of a monastery called a novice into his office and instructed him to give the homily at the next morning's chapel.
The novice was struck with fear. The next morning, chapel came. He stood in the pulpit. The brothers were there. His hands were trembling. His knees were knocking. His voice was quivering. There was a long pause before he first spoke, and then he asked a question. “Do you know what I'm going to say?”
They had no idea, so all of their heads went back and forth almost in unison, as if it were choreographed. He said, “Neither do I. Let's stand for the benediction.”
The next day was almost an exact repeat of the day before. All the brothers sat there before him. His hands shook. His knees knocked. His voice trembled. Long pause. “Do you know what I'm going to say?” he asked.
Well, after the previous day's experience, they had a pretty good idea. So all of their heads nodded yes.
“Then there's no need for me to tell you. Let's stand for the benediction.”
The abbot was angry beyond description. He brought the young man into his office and said, “If you do that again, you are going to be in solitary confinement, eat bread and water for thirty days, and receive any other punishment I can think of. Tomorrow morning, give the homily; do it right.”
The third day, chapel attendance hit an all-time high. Everyone was there to see what he would say, and it was almost an exact repeat. He stood, trembling, voice quivering, and after a long silence asked, “Do you know what I'm going to say?”
After three days of this, about half of them had a pretty good idea and they nodded their heads yes.
The other half noticed the switch from day to day, and they weren't sure what to expect, and so they shook their heads no.
The novice observed this and said, “Let those who know tell those who don't. Let us stand for the benediction.” (Leith Anderson, Preaching Today #165; www.PreachingToday.com)
When it comes to sharing their faith, some people, like that novice in a monastery, are struck with fear. Their hands tremble. Their knees knock. Their voice quivers, and they end up speechless. Even though they want to introduce their family and friends to Jesus, they’re not sure how and they fear rejection.
1 Peter 2:4-5 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (ESV)
God is building a spiritual house, not with bricks and mortar, but with living stones, with people who believe in Christ like you and me. So if you want to overcome your fear to introduce people to Jesus...
KNOW THAT YOU ARE PART OF A HOLY TEMPLE!
Understand that, together with other believers, you are a magnificent cathedral designed to reflect the glory of Christ, especially to those who reject Him.
Now, Jesus is the cornerstone of this temple.He is the foundation piece that gives direction to the whole edifice, even though He is rejected by so many.
1 Peter 2:6-8 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. (ESV)
Those who refuse to be persuaded by the word are destined to stumble over Christ. That’s literally the meaning of the word, “disobey.” It describes someone who refuses to believe or someone who refuses to be persuaded.
You see, people DO not believe in Jesus not because they CAN not believe. They DO not believe in Jesus because they WILL not believe. Faith is a choice, and those who choose not to believe in Jesus stumble and fall over Him. He is scandalous to them. He is offensive. But for those of us who choose to believe in Him, we find Him to be precious (vs.4), literally, to be honored or valued. That’s because He is the foundation stone, the cornerstone that gives stability and direction to all of us who trust Him.