When my turn rolls around, I try and keep my talk as encouraging and simple as possible, while obviously leaving room for a few of my stupid jokes. After dispensing all the necessary information and receiving limited pity laughs in response, I always end my speech the same way, "Thanks so much for choosing Mamma Mia! Have a wonderful night. God Bless." Cue the band. Dance off the stage. Figure out new (better) jokes on the ride home. Nothing too flashy.
One evening though, after a matinee where I had done the speech, I received an email from a guy named Ryan. Here's what he had to say...
"Hey Jon --
My name is Ryan and I was at your show this afternoon. After explaining the Broadway Cares project, you said “God bless” to the audience, which caught me off guard. A quick peak at your Twitter feed, and boy, was I surprised — and impressed. I work in political journalism, where being vocal about faith isn’t exactly smiled upon, so it was an encouragement to me to see that kind of public display of faith from the stage — and in your online presence. I’m guessing that takes some courage. Anyway, I hope you don’t mind me reaching out. Take care and keep up the good work."
If Ryan was surprised by my "public display of faith," then I was absolutely floored he viewed it in that way. I wasn't trying to "display my faith" or "evangelize," I was just saying what comes naturally to me when I finish a conversation with people. I was amazed how something so small could be such a big encouragement to him.
Then I remembered the kind of God I was dealing with.
A lot of times we think that in order to be "used by God" we have to have some life changing conversation, start a pre-work Bible study, or do a worship gathering in the middle of the cafeteria. These things may be what God is calling you to do in your work place or your school, but they are not the only way to witness to those around us.
Saying "God bless" was not some heavy evangelistic strategy on my part, but it did plant a seed in Ryan's mind. It sparked an interest that led him to my bio, which led him to finding me online where I speak much more openly and specifically about my faith. Did I need to quote a bible verse on tithing in my speech or write my testimony into my program bio? No. All I did was speak authentically from the heart, and God (in the way he so often does) used those two small words as a big encouragement to a fellow brother in Christ.
What if we make evangelism harder than it has to be?
What if we put too much pressure on ourselves to carry he entire "witnessing" load?
What if, instead, we brought whatever we had and simply gave God the reigns?
What if we just shared two small words of blessing? Would God maybe use that? Might he even multiply it?
I'm betting on yes.