Always [be] ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.
—1 Peter 3:15

If you’re going to be a person of influence, a velvet-covered brick, in this society, first of all, you must learn to engage with those who have opposing points of view.

A few weeks ago, a member of our church invited Amy and me to go to a banquet. When we were finished, a lady came up to us, and we recognized her immediately. She had been our eighth grade English teacher, and she had made a profound impact on both of our lives.

At the beginning of that school year, she asked me if I would stay after school because she wanted to talk with me. When we sat down she said, “Robert, God has you in this school for a reason, not just to get an education, but I believe He wants you to be a witness for Him. I want to give you this challenge: make a list of five people you know who aren’t Christians. Commit to pray for their salvation throughout the year, and commit that one time during the year, you will sit down with each of these five and share the plan of salvation with them. Will you do that?” I said, “Yes, I will take that challenge.” So I made a list of five friends who weren’t Christians, I began to pray for them, and I determined I was going to witness to each of them before the end of the year.

First on my list was a guy named Nick. He was the toughest guy in the school. One day I worked up enough courage and I said, “Nick, do you mind meeting with me after school? I want to talk to you about something.” He looked at me and, to my surprise, he said, “Yeah, I’ll talk to ya.” So we met after school in an empty history classroom, and I shared the plan of salvation with him. When I finished I said, “Nick, is there any reason you wouldn’t want to become a Christian today?” He said, “No, there’s really no reason. I think this is something I’d like to do. I would like to become a Christian.” So we prayed together, the prayer of salvation. That day Nick was saved.

Nine months later, Nick died of a brain tumor that nobody knew he had at the time we were sitting there and talking about eternal matters. I knew suddenly why God had me talk to him. As that school year went on, I saw all five people on my list trust in Christ as their Savior. It was the most thrilling experience I’ve ever had. Had I not been in a place where there were unbelievers, I never would have had the opportunity to share the gospel like that. If we are going to make a difference in this culture, we need to have a sense of mission and we need to be willing to engage with those who have opposing points of view.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Influence Our Culture for God” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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