When we lived in Duncanville (SW of Dallas) we had many salesmen stop by and Joice would invariably visit with them and sometimes invite them into the house. She wanted to witness to them, if it was possible. This led to many interesting encounters.
One of the most memorable was when two well dressed men showed up and rang the doorbell. “What have we here?” Joice asked, “a couple of Mormons? Come in.” “No, we are Kirby vacuum cleaner salesmen,” the men replied. I was at work but Joice was going to have some fun. “Will it really clean bricks or tiles?” she asked. “Of course,” they replied and worked on the fireplace and kitchen floor. “But what about sofas and chairs?” Again the men showed how efficient the vacuum cleaner was. “What about sand and grit in the carpet?” And, of course, the demonstration went to the carpet. “You missed some over here,” Joice said, so they went over a larger swath of rug.
About this time I arrived home and Joice met me enthusiastically with the comment, “There are two men here who want to meet you.” I could see from all the vacuum apparatus what was up but I could also see the twinkle in Joice’s eyes that we were going to have some fun. “This wonderful Kirby is on sale now for $2,000,” one of the men said “and we have just used it on your mattress.” Using our TV and DVD, they showed us all the enormous monster bugs that were roaming in our bed. “But those aren’t ours,” I objected, “we got this mattress from our children in Waco and they must belong to them Besides, if we disturb the natural habitat of these creatures now, they may begin to roam wildly in the house and cause all kinds of sicknesses.” (One of the men was furiously taking notes.)
The men were clearly perplexed and ever so gradually brought the sales price “down” to $1,000. However, we weren’t “biting” and the men decided to call their supervisor, who just happened to be working the same street. He came immediately and offered us more incentives but could see we were sales resistant. We showed them Kewa pictures, the translated NT, and gave them a good lecture on Bible translation. They somewhat grudgingly but hastily left us with our newly cleaned house. Joice and I had a good laugh.
Over the years, many other vendors appeared at our doorstep and Joice would talk to them. One was a Christian man, witnessing to everyone in our town. It was cold and we invited him in. “This is a terrible town,” he said, “I can’t find any pagans on this street.” We didn’t think he really looked hard enough.
Besides Mormons and vendors of all kinds, we also had Jehovah Witnesses. We would always try to bring the Scriptures into our conversation and even offer to pray with them. They did not want prayer and would quickly find that they needed to “move on.”
We know that as Christians we are to be a “witness” for Christ. But is it OK to do it and have a bit of fun as well? Or is it far too serious of a matter? It depends on the context and situation: talking to a homeless person about our faith includes being interested in their condition and responding to it. Also, our “witness” to a person of another faith demands some respect and personal accountability.
I always admired how ready Joice was to talk to someone, not necessarily witnessing about Christ, but leading that way if possible. She was entirely without guile or chicanery, instead offering an honest and open expression of her faith. She taught me a lot but I could have learned much more!
From what I have observed over almost 7 years, witnessing at our church is pretty “low key,” and offered in a context of friendship and love. For example, Joice met regularly for a couple of years with four women, and she often wondered if she had any lasting “witness.” Was she demonstrating Christ’s love and compassion even though she didn’t overtly say much about her faith? It was consummated in her prayers.
Hopefully, we all want our lives to be a witness—the way we live, act and what we say will mean more to our children than our lectures.
“You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.” (Acts 22:15)
In Joshua Chapter 24, the people claim they will be witnesses for God and Joshua assures them, “You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.”