“If my cup isn’t running over, I’ve got nothing to pour out to you.”
Fill yourself with so much of God’s love and truth that it spills out and leaks into those around you. It doesn’t take much; God can do wonders in the overflow.
Our most recent guest on the Ask About My Faith podcast, Austin Colby, shares his inspiring testimony and shows us how passionately pursuing the presence of the Lord in our daily lives can lead to God ministering to those around us through our overflow.
Austin describes himself as a follower of Jesus first, a husband to his wife, Jennifer, second, and a parent to his ten children third. In his spare time, he owns and operates a wealth management practice in Nashville, TN. He is a naturally passionate and enthusiastic individual who has never been shy about sharing his faith, but you might be surprised to learn that he didn’t find his way to Christ until later in life.
Having Faith Conversations When You’re Scared
“When you go your entire life without truth, the moment you experience it, you know it instantly. It was as if God came up and wrapped His arms around me and said, ‘Welcome to the family.’”
Austin grew up in a typical nuclear family in a suburban town in the middle of America, yet he never even heard about Jesus until he was in his 20s. Without Christ in his life, Austin had no stable foundation apart from his family. So, when he learned of his parents’ divorce during his senior year of college, his world fell into shambles.
His final year of college was a disaster. He was angry at the world and began acting out, pushing his best friend and family away in the process. After graduation, Austin moved to the Twin Cities, where he quickly found business success. On the outside, his life looked pretty good. But on the inside, Austin was still miserable.
At age 23, a year after graduation, his estranged friend contacted him, wanting to reconnect. They met over dinner, and it was like no time had passed. She listened as he opened up about everything that had been going on over the last two years. When he finished, she asked him if he’d thought about God. He had, but only as a small piece of a much larger puzzle to form happiness.
It turns out that while he was giving into anger, she was giving her life to God. She’d transferred to a Christian university near him and invited Austin to join her at one of their weekly gatherings. He agreed and ended up going a few days later.
Minutes after walking through the door, he was amazed by the dimly lit room full of young men and women worshiping the Lord. He was instantly struck by the presence of God and turned to his friend and told her that whatever they had, he wanted. Austin gave his life to Jesus right then and there.
From the perspective of Austin’s friend, she initially hesitated to talk to him about God. Her last encounters with Austin weren’t pleasant, and she was scared to reach out. Finally, she followed the Spirit’s guidance. Thank God she did!
Not only did he find salvation as a result, but a few years later, after he’d rooted himself in his faith and found a solid church community, they got married! Now they have lived 17 years as husband and wife and are blessed with 10 children.
Related Podcast: 4 Tips for Sharing Your Faith
Generosity and Relationships Lead to Faith Conversations
Austin is very passionate, so at first, he was a little overzealous when sharing God’s word with others. He realized that approach was a bit off-putting, so he switched gears. Austin discovered that passionately pursuing Christ daily and allowing His presence to flow freely through him was easier and more effective.
He shares a series of stories where he and his family have been able to minister to restaurant staff and patrons just by living as an example of Christ's kindness, generosity, and joy. They don’t need to preach; God’s love overflows through them with their attitude and actions.
This comes out through the way they treat the staff, their overall behavior, and their genuine interest in the lives of those around them. Austin and his family have been blessed financially, so they always try to bless the wait staff with a generous tip. He talks about a pancake house where he is a frequent regular. The staff there know him, and he’s sincerely tried to get to know each of them. Every Christmas, he leaves a generous tip for everyone who works there, and over the years, he’s been able to minister to them individually by building relationships with them.
When building relationships, it’s important to remember that “people like talking about themselves,” so ask them what their story is and leave the question open-ended. If you leave it open, they are more likely to tell you what truly matters to them.
Related Post: The Most Important Thing You Can Think About Today
Faith Conversations are Ultimately Not About You
You never know what will happen or who will be impacted when you follow God’s call to minister and pray for others. This is a recurring theme throughout Austin’s stories.
Yes, the person you are sharing God’s love with is directly benefiting, but you never know who else might be impacted by your act of faith. Austin tells us about a time when he was uncomfortable sharing God’s love with an intimidating homeless man. It didn’t go well. The man yelled and cursed at him, and Austin walked away feeling very defeated.
However, later, he was reminded that his obedience to God, despite the uncomfortable circumstances, likely left a lasting impression on his children who were watching.
Remember, the person you are praying for is not the only one impacted by that moment. You will never see the full picture of what God is doing, and that’s ok. We just need to plant the seeds and know that God, ultimately, gives growth.
Advice from Austin Colby
Austin left us with some incredible advice! First and foremost, outside of your decision to follow Christ, the second most important decision you’ll ever make is who you choose to build your life with. You must choose a partner who will help you pursue God’s presence and who will help you live a life that looks more like Christ. They will either encourage or discourage you; make sure it’s the former.
Second, when building the courage to share your faith, remember, “Either you believe it, or you don’t.” If you believe it, then you will be able to stop yourself from sharing it. It will just come out of you.
Third, who are you not to share the truth that will save their life? You know the secret to limitless love, joy, and eternal peace. Why wouldn’t you try to share it? It all starts at home. “You cannot give what you do not have.” So ensure you are overflowing so God’s love and truth can spill around you.
Related Post: 3 Reasons Why Sharing Your Faith Story Matters