Dave Dravecky is a regular contributor of The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.
Using My Platform
I love talking about the wonderful thing that Jesus has done in my life by transforming me into a very different person from the man I once was. I have been given the unique opportunity, because of the platform of baseball, to travel the country and share my story with many audiences. In certain arenas I don’t have the freedom to share as much as I would like about my faith, but I can share my story. This always opens the door for people to come up and ask me about the spiritual aspect of my story. On The Increase, I have the opportunity to fully and continually share what God has done and is doing in my life.
My journey isn’t so different from many of the Christian ballplayers who have been given this significant platform to share their testimonies for people to read or hear about. It was 27 years ago that I retired from the game, and I find it amazing that God is still providing ways for me to tell my story, even in places I thought I’d never be able to go, and it’s all for His glory.
“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.’” —Mark 16:15
Today I’d like to share some thoughts on being a witness for Christ and how I build relationships
Being a Witness
The key to being a witness is to invest in other people’s lives; it’s all about building relationships. My wife and I volunteer at a local cancer center where people are faced with life-and-death issues daily. We have met everyone from young teenagers to the elderly; they find themselves battling cancer and asking questions about life. It gives us the opportunity to build trust with them through relationships and from time to time, we get the chance to talk to them about where they are at spiritually—to ask them what they think about God and what hope means to them. It’s really interesting how conversation occurs as a result of that; they often aren’t afraid to dialogue about that because they truly do want to know that there is hope.
We don’t always see the fruit of our ministry or what impact we are having on the lives of others but every now and then, God lets us know to keep going. Someone might call and say, “I heard your story and realized I needed Jesus just like you did.” That really encourages us to continue to be faithful in sharing our story.
One thing that I have found extremely important when sharing my faith with others is learning how to respect where people are at in their relationship with God and their journey in life. Through relationships built over time, we create an environment of trust; at some point in our conversations I can share about the hope that I have in Jesus Christ. I’ve had to come to the realization that I don’t do the converting, Jesus does, so I no longer try to convert. I simply tell my story, being sensitive to the other person’s journey of faith because after all, that’s where I came from too—we were all lost.
I used to just want to check off the box of sharing the Gospel with others then be done, but this is not a one-and-done thing. I needed to learn how to develop relationships with people first, getting to know them and discover who they are so that I can ask questions about their pain, suffering, and journey. We all face adversity; by getting to know the struggles of others, we can ask questions about where God is at in the middle of their story. And if He is not there, what’s wrong?
None of us is perfect but there is Someone who is, Someone who cares deeply for us all despite of our imperfections. Respect where people are at right now and love them for who they are, just as Jesus would. Ask God to make it clear when it’s time to talk about Him.
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’” —Matthew 22:37-39
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