Eight Weeks of Effective Witness Day 11: Snake Handling and Soul-Winning

Me holding a rattlesnake some years ago. I like snakes.

A couple years ago I sat in our living room watching a ball game while Michelle stepped outside. She’s created a micro deer farm of sorts in our side yard. Deer abound in our neighborhood; Michelle feeds them, talks to them, and names them. She is Snow White: the deer hear her voice, and she calls them by name.

On a pretty typical July night, she sat on the tailgate of our old truck watching the deer as I enjoyed my game. Suddenly my cell phone rang; I looked to see the name flashing on the screen. It was Michelle. Just outside. We’d been married more than thirty-five years, which means you start to figure things out. Like that my wife never calls my cell phone when she is sitting just outside. As teens our kids texted their friends while sitting in the same room, but we prefer talking to each other.

Almost immediately I surmised why she used the cell rather than walking in to get me: it had to be a snake. I hit the green button. “Snake!” was about all I heard, so out the door I ran. Sure enough, it was a snake, but not your garden-variety, friendly, neighborhood black snake. The snake I spotted was most malevolent: a copperhead. The rusty serpent slithered across our driveway, where Michelle saw it below her feet as they dangled off the tailgate—that is, until she saw the snake!

Does that picture freak you out? Snakes don’t freak me out. I actually like snakes. I’ve kept a variety as pets. When I saw the pernicious pit viper, my first thought was to pin its head down, pick it up, and show its fangs on a video, proudly posting my biblical directive to take dominion on social media. I did mention I have been married over thirty-five years, right? Since I would like to be married another thirty, I forgot the video idea, grabbed a golf club, and smote the serpent. I went Genesis 3:15 on him and crushed his gnarly head. I killed the dragon and rescued the girl. You get the idea.

I’m not sure what freaks you out. But if you’re a follower of Jesus and really want to be freaked out, picture walking up to someone to boldly tell him about Jesus. You know, like talking to your church-loathing coworker, atheist family member, or that neighbor (the one who freaks you out). That terrifies some believers as much as encountering a reptile.

What if I told you the God who spoke and created the universe is big enough to help you face your fears? What if I told you he made you uniquely in his image, in such a way that you—uniquely from everything else in creation—can worship, glorify, and serve him, and that we’ve overcomplicated things?

What if I showed you from God’s Word that you and I were in fact made by God not only to be redeemed by Christ to glorify him and to serve him in the church, but what if I told you he made you—from the circumstances of your life to the people you know—to be a beacon of good news, and this too is both for his glory and for your good? What if you saw how the passion of your life—those things that bring you joy, that turn your crank, that bring you great satisfaction—were given to you by God to be used for something bigger, to spread his fame?

If the thought of sharing your faith freaks you out, take a moment and imagine what it would be like if a year from now you weren’t so nervous. What if you pushed through your fear to grasp faith and saw God use you ( i’m talking about you)  in the work of advancing the gospel? Step out in faith, face your fears, and see God work.

[adapted from Sharing Jesus {Without Freaking Out}]