When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. – I Corinthians 2:1-5
Benjamin Franklin was one of the most persuasive men of his time. Through a combination of carefully chosen words, good humor and common sense, Franklin enjoyed great success when it came to winning people over to his point of view. In fact, it was Franklin’s art of persuasion that helped convince the nation of France to become an ally of the United States during the American Revolution. Had it not been for Benjamin Franklin, the Revolutionary War very likely would have ended in defeat.
There was an episode, however, when Benjamin Franklin set his eloquence aside. His home city of Philadelphia did not have street lamps. Its residents were satisfied with dark streets at night. Franklin could have unleashed the power of his pen and worked to convince his fellow residents of the many benefits of street lamps. Instead, he took a different approach. He simply set up his own street lamp outside of his own house. After sunset, the lamp’s light attracted the curiosity of his neighbors. Gradually, the word spread about how wonderful it was to walk near Mr Franklin’s house at night without fear of stumbling in the dark. Soon the people of Philadelphia were persuaded. Street lamps for the entire city quickly followed.
There are times when you and I, as Christians, have a habit of worrying ourselves into silence when it comes to witnessing to someone else about Jesus. We think we have to have just the perfect line of thought, the perfect choice of words, the perfect timing. Such thinking is nonsense, and we know it. After all, it’s not within our power of persuasion to bring another soul to faith.
Instead, we have something far better. Jesus is the light. In him the darkness of our lives is gone. In him we are forgiven. In him we have peace. In him we never have to be afraid again.
When you and I openly bask in the light that is Jesus, we then don’t have to fret so much about persuading others how wonderful that light is. The light will speak for itself.