By Bill Knott
On a quiet street just west of Chicago, Illinois, I learned an important lesson about witnessing.
As a young pastor, I had been assigned to an evangelism field school in connection with a public campaign to share the gospel in a neighborhood that had little Adventist presence. Each day, I visited homes of those attending the meetings to review the Bible truths learned the night before.
On the day after evangelist Mark Finley had presented the Bible’s teaching about what happens to people when they die, I moved with dread toward the doorstep of one attendee. She was a widow at least 70 years of age, living alone in a small brick home, with no obvious network of support and friends.
As I reviewed the Bible texts that Pastor Finley had presented, I prepared myself for the inevitable response. She was a member of another faith that teaches that those who die go immediately to the presence of Jesus, and I expected her to politely but firmly reject the viewpoint I was sharing.
Imagine my astonishment as I neared the end of the Bible study when she exclaimed, “That’s wonderful news!”
“It is?” I asked cautiously. “Tell me how.”
“Well,” she said, “my husband died 10 years ago, and since then our children have fallen into huge disputes with each other about dividing up the estate. They will hardly talk with each other now. I had assumed that my husband was up in heaven, looking down on all this bitterness. Now I know that he knows nothing about it!”
A wave of relief and gratitude swept over me. For all my fear and worry, I had learned the most powerful lesson about witnessing: The Holy Spirit has already visited those with whom He invites us to share our faith. Jesus had knocked on that door before I did.
As you read this month’s cover feature, “Reach the World,” let the Lord remind you that all sharing of our faith is but following to places the Spirit has already visited to open hearts, prepare minds, and call to new life in Jesus.