An inevitable part of college life is the summer job. Every May, college students everywhere start trying to find the best place of employment. So when it came to finding myself a summer job, I had worked enough places that helped steer me away from certain employment possibilities.
While many of my friends decided to be lifeguards, amusement park workers, or interns at a really fun place to work, I chose a different path. I let my roommate talk me into working on an assembly line.
You haven’t experienced the working world until you have worked on an assembly line. I made the bottom sashes of skylights all summer long. I stood in the same spot my entire shift. It was too loud to talk to anyone. You couldn’t do anything different because you had to meet quota of bottom sashes everyday. The only excitement I got was when I dozed off and accidentally put a screw into my hand and had to go to the med cabinet.
I worked with some great people there. I loved getting to hang out with them at lunchtime where we could actually talk once the machines were turned off, but it didn’t take me too long to notice that I also worked with some people who weren’t putting Jesus as the center of their lives either.
As I spent more time with these people, I realized that some of them were very far off from God.
One guy in particular named Tony really began to grab my heart. I felt as if God was telling me that I needed to talk to him about my faith in Christ, but I was scared to death.
I had great excuses though:
- 1) the machines are too loud to hear anything,
- 2) our breaks aren’t long enough to get into a deep conversation, and
- 3) one of my foundational evangelistic principles is to never have a spiritual dialogue with a man who has a drill in his hands.
The more I made excuses to God, the more God impressed him on my heart. I would pray for him. I would think about how to start the conversation, but days went by, and I never initiated the conversation.
So God decided to initiate the conversation himself.
One day as I was working on the loudest machine in our section, Tony came up and started talking to me. I couldn’t hear a word he was saying, and after yelling at him to repeat it, I thought I heard him say, “Have you ate yet?”
I yelled back, “No, I haven’t ate yet, it’s only 10:00!”
He yelled back, and I finally heard him question me, “No, I said, are you saved?”
I responded, “Yeah, I’m saved. Are you?”
“No,” he replied. And then he just walked back to his station like nothing ever happened.
I ran after him and implored him what caused him to ask me that, and he really did not have a definitive answer. He just wanted to know. Over lunch that day, we began to talk about my relationship with Christ. He was concerned about what he could still get away with in the personal pleasure department if he became a Christian, and he honestly responded that he didn’t think he could stop sleeping around and partying with the substances he loved in order to follow Christ and live a holy life.
We continued to talk over the summer. To my knowledge, Tony has not become a Christian yet, but I still pray for him. And when I think about him, I also pray for me because I am so deeply embarrassed that someone had to ask me about the greatest thing in my life.
I am so ashamed that someone had to drag out of me whether or not my life has been transformed due to a relationship with Jesus.
As I talked to Tony about Christ, I already felt defeated because I wondered if he could ever grasp that Christianity meant anything to me if I was not the one initiating the conversation with him.
If you have people around you that don’t know Jesus, don’t make them have to ask you if he has any claim on your life.
A critical step in evangelism is simply professing that you belong to Jesus.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.