How Did Jesus Do It?

Image for How Did Jesus Do It?

How do we reach the hearts of others with the gospel?

We invest our money and our time, hoping, like Jesus, for a good return. But as Jesus had few tangible items of worth during His ministry, His method of reaching hearts was through investing time in people, making connections, and showing people how valuable they were to Him.

Christians are generally quicker to invest money but more shy about investing time. We are often stronger on preaching but weaker on connecting. We often rely on expert evangelists and seminars to bring people into the church instead of empowering our local church body to live a light-giving life through everyday situations. We tell people the truth — we attempt to sell them on it — without first demonstrating its value through our actions.

We aim at people’s heads but neglect their hearts.

Is it working?

In one location I served, I made it a point to have as my new doctor a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. I was aiming high. I wanted to reach out to him as Jesus would — through a relationship. From the beginning, I told him I was a Christian, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor. He was surprised. With each visit, we continued getting to know each other more. I gave him my ear for six months, keeping silent as I listened to him try every angle to reconvert me to Islam. I believe he hit each one.

“Doctor,” I confided in him early on, “there are three copies of ‘the book’ in the entire country, and I smuggled all three inside.” Imagine his amazement that I would risk my life to bring in an illegal book, the Bible. What must it be worth that I was willing to do that? What must he be worth that I was willing to share this news with him?

At the end of the six months, I gave him a copy. But I told him, “I am giving it to you for one month, but I want my book back! Agreed?”

One month later, I stopped by his office.

“You can’t have it. You are not getting the book back,” he said as I asked for its return.

“Listen, I told you that you could read it for one month but that I wanted my book back.”


“I want it back.”

“I will give you $500 for it.”

Now it was my turn to say no.

“$1,000,” he countered. “$2,000!”


“I don’t want to give it back.” He had found something of great value. I was thrilled and had secretly hoped he would want to keep it.

I knew that he had been going through a divorce. I also knew that his son had asthma and that he would take him to the hospital several times a week.

“This book has a lot of good things that I don’t see in the Quran,” he confessed. “While reading the gospels and the book of Acts, I began rethinking the problems in my marriage. My wife and I began talking and sharing and making changes. We rebuilt our marriage. I have an entirely new perspective now. And our son . . . he has not had any asthma flare-ups. I haven’t had to take him to the hospital. I am happy. I still face problems, but they don’t trouble me. I want to keep the book.” A change had come over his expression. I saw peace.

“Ok, but we must meet and discuss what you have read,” I emphasized. “And that long beard of yours (it went down to the bottom of his ribs) . . . . Tell me, when you sleep at night, does your beard go over or under the covers?” I asked jokingly, as I, too, used to have a long beard.

A month later, we met again. “Get away from me,” he said. “I haven’t been able to sleep in a month! I keep waking up to see whether my beard is above or below my cover.” He began laughing. I could see how light he felt. As he smiled, his peace and happiness were unmistakable.

We have had many conversations since then. He believes. I know it. But he is afraid. To profess Christ could cost him his life.

His friends know it, too. They say he is ‘softer’ (kinder) and that he needs to stay away from me.

We continue to talk about the Bible and the changes he has experienced. I continue to pray for him. Imagine what his life might be like had no one invested time in him. Would he now know Christ at all if I had hammered him with truths rather than listening to him and letting a relationship develop, demonstrating my appreciation and Christ’s love? I might have momentarily piqued his mind, but would the Spirit have been able to plant seeds in his heart?

Is God stirring you to help our Muslim brothers and sisters? If so, go to the Dream Project at Please keep us in your prayers that God will use us to share Him and His truth with the people He is reaching through dreams.