Proclaim Jesus at the Grocery Store

If you buy groceries for yourself or your family, you can share Christ with people at the checkout counter. The world typically treats buying groceries as a mere business deal. But in John 4, Jesus turned his need for water into a time to proclaim salvation. We Christians can know that Jesus would want us to do the same in similar situations.

But how?

Remember this simple formula: ask and proclaim.

First step: ask how the person is doing. The person you buy groceries from has a life and a family. Ask them how they are doing. If they have children or a spouse (Are their pictures around their register, rings, etc.?) ask if their family is ok. 

Then, listen very closely. Try to remember every detail in their answer. Jesus was omniscient; we are not. So we must focus our minds on that person as we listen. Some will share a brief answer; others, when you ask sincerely, may shock you with their willingness to share things that cause them pain. Listen.

Between step one and step two is this important factor: do they ask you the same question? 

If they don't ask you anything, here's one example of what I might say, "Praise God. I'm glad things are going well." You can say that if they tell you that they and their loved ones are doing well.

If they don't ask you anything, but they tell you something that is wrong or that someone they love is not well, I might say, "I'm so sorry. I'll ask God to help him/her." 

Feel free to improvise and extend these responses as the Spirit leads you, of course. After you leave the store, your job is to ask God to help that person, or their family, and for God to give you another opportunity to follow up with the gospel. 

But if they do ask you something. The second step is to proclaim. What exactly is proclaiming?

There are two main ways the Bible tells us how to do evangelism: "reasoning" and "proclaiming". Some people are good at explaining, defending, and even debating (nicely, of course) with people as they tell about Jesus. These are "reasoners". In Acts, Paul often goes to the synagogue or city square and "reasons" with those he meets. 

But that is not the only method. Reasoning is complex and, sometimes, difficult. Many people are afraid to evangelize because of fear they will lose a debate.

On the other hand, proclaiming doesn't need any dialogue! It is very simple. All Christians can do it. Children included.

Proclaiming is when people tell others that Jesus saves. It requires a deep-seated love for people and love for Jesus. You can read about proclaiming in Romans 10:15, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!" That word "preach" is also translatable as "proclaim". It means a bold, intentional attempt to get a message to someone. 

Second step: if the clerk asks you about how you are doing, proclaim the gospel. Romans 10:9 says people must confess Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead. So proclaiming the gospel is telling people about 1) why Jesus died and rose and 2) that he is Lord over all. 

Here are some ways you can answer the question, "How are you doing?" and proclaim the good news:

Ways to say Jesus is Lord:

"Jesus has blessed us. He hasn't let any of my family die/get sick from COVID-19." 

"Its been hard to deal with our (job situation/finances/sickness), but we trust Jesus to take care of us."

If Jesus is Lord, he is in control. That's what the passage on Sunday taught, "... you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him" (John 17:2). These answers show that you are trusting in Jesus and that you have submitted to his Lordship over all. 

Ways to share about Jesus death and resurrection:

"I have peace because Jesus died for my sins. I know that whether I die tomorrow or in ___ years, I'll be ok."

"I'm not worried about death. God raised Jesus to life and I know he will raise me, too."

Yes, these statements are unusual in the context of normal conversation. When Jesus talked with the Samaritan woman in John 4, it was definitely unusual and uncomfortable for her. The issue with sharing the gospel isn't, "Does this feel normal or awkward?" The issue is, "Does this proclaim the truth about salvation?" You are showing your cards. You are being bold. It may be uncomfortable. But it is what people need to know. And God may use it to bring salvation.

If we have received Christ's grace and submitted to his Lordship, we need to obey his command to tell others about him. I pray that we are faithful with the opportunities he gives us.