We all want to be successful in gospel-sharing and disciple-making. But, if we are honest, there are times of failure and disappointment as we strive to obey Jesus’ command to make disciples. It’s encouraging when people we share with take steps to follow Jesus, but it is painful when they don’t. There are lessons to learn from both situations.
Here are two stories from my own efforts in evangelism and disciple-making: one of failure and another of hope.
A Promising Start
I often go to our friends’ apartment complex in our city. There is a gentleman who works there as a security guard. Whenever I visit the place, we greet each other. After doing this for a few weeks, I began to have deeper conversations with him. We learned more about each other and our families.
Then I shared my testimony with him, about how Jesus had changed my life and forgiven my sins. I told him how I found Jesus and how He gave me inner peace and spiritual security. As we talked, I also shared the gospel more fully.
After that day, we had a few more spiritual conversations. He also accepted a New Testament from me. I prayed regularly for him and was hopeful he would come to know Christ.
Disappointment Comes Next
After a few weeks, he surprised me by saying that he wanted to return the New Testament Bible to me. I asked why. He replied saying that he had no interest to read it. He also said that he was not open to further conversations about Jesus.
I felt very disappointed with his response. But I continued to pray for him. He’s still very friendly to me whenever I visit that apartment complex. And guess what? He hasn’t returned the Bible to me yet, and I did not ask. What if one day, in the near or distant future, he opens it and Jesus reveals himself to him?
Pray with me for him. His name is SD and he is Bengali Hindu.
An Unexpected Opportunity
My other story is also about a Bengali man. His name is DC. He has a small stationery shop in the city. Our conversations started after the first wave of the Covid 19 related lockdowns began to ease in October 2020.
I went to his shop to buy pens. There were no other customers, so we started a conversation. By the time I left his shop that day, God’s Spirit had helped me share my testimony with him.
Two days later, I returned to the shop and, to my delight, he was eager to hear more. I shared the gospel more fully with him. He was very attentive. He asked questions about Jesus and I answered the best I could. Before I left his shop that evening, I asked if he would be willing to study the Bible with me. He said yes.
For the next one month, after he closed his shop, we sat inside and did Discovery Bible Studies (DBS) together. He asked for a Bible, so I gave him a Bengali New Testament. After a month, he said he was ready to receive Jesus and follow him. Not long after, he obeyed the Lord in baptism. I continued to disciple and train him to reach out to family and friends.
After receiving Jesus, DC began to see changes in his life. The anxiety felt due to losses in his business were gone. His anger with difficult customers seemed to have disappeared. He was filled with joy. A few months later, the Lord completely delivered him from a smoking addiction. Jesus also healed him of a leg pain issue after we prayed.
Steps of Obedience
DC continues to follow Jesus. He’s part of a house-church. He’s faithful in giving. He shares Jesus with others. His Hindu family has become more open to the gospel. His wife’s even been having dreams about Jesus. Recently, he has been sharing Jesus with a friend who works as an accountant in a small business. He gave this friend an audio-bible, which he has been listening to. Sometimes he listens to it until 2 a.m. in the morning!
My experience of sharing Jesus and discipling these two men taught me this: we do our part and God will do His. It is tempting to despair as we try to make disciples. We must remember what Paul said to the Galatians and Corinthians.
- our labor is never in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58)
- we should not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).
*This guest article was written by A.D.S.
8 thoughts on “Both Failure and Success Can Be Expected When Sharing the Good News”
I think this is really important to highlight. Someone saying “no” is better than a half-hearted “yes” because they hope for fringe benefits such as money, a job, etc. Very few people highlight all the people that said “no” to the apostle Paul. It is part of making disciples.
Absolutely true Jean. Thanks for your insightful comment.
We know that it is God who opens the door for His Word. He opens the door in the heart of the lost person, He opens the door by filling His witness with His Holy Spirit and He opens the door of circumstances for these two to meet. We also know that God does not thrust His Word down the throat of man. He allows man to have his own choice. Man may choose to rebel against God or accept His saving grace. But the important thing is that you have shared His Word. There is joy in sharing His Word.
Very inspiring story.I am amazed how God works in the heart of his people.God can do a miracle even when we dont know how to go about it.It is very clear that if we perform our part faithfully God can change the heart of the people(non-believer).Praying that God will lead the way and bear more fruit to the people who dont know Jesus.
This is the reality of the Gospel sharing and that what all the disciples supposed to know first before doing the work and keeping it mine that you are sharing the God power not tour’s ( Roman 1:16) and the failure is the great enemy of sharing the Gospel but if obey and do your’s surely God will not fail to do his own.
We should keep in our mind the generous task of our heavenly Father The Lord GOD has given us to do for preaching The Gospel among entire nations on this planet earth, especially among our close friends/relations/connections who know us very well.We should make disciples as Apostle Paul made disciples wherever he moved during his life.We are sure our labour in Christ wo’nt go in vain and we’ll get our reward of ”The Crown of Life” from our Lord Jesus Christ.Hallelujah !!!
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This is prakash from India.,