If you don’t sow the seed, there’s a 100% chance it will not fall on fertile ground.
I think I become too complacent about sharing my faith in Christ. I’m so determined to not stuff it in people’s faces, that I go to the other extreme of not saying anything, figuring if I live the life, unbelievers will get the idea that I’m different and they’ll start to ask questions.
But when I read John’s account of the woman at the well, I’m impressed with how Jesus handled evangelism. He didn’t shove His identity in her face. Nor did He avoid the topic for fear she would be none too thrilled to hear about His brand of good news. Instead, he drew her in slowly, tantalizing her with tidbits, until she started asking questions. Then He went for the jugular.
That’s the way I’d like to be able to do it.
Then there are those times that Christ has become so much a part of my life that my God-talk just flows out of out of who I am before I can stop it. There’s that nano-second pause after the words come out of my mouth that I berate myself. “Uh oh. There you’ve done it again. You’re going to offend someone if you keep talking like that. Gotta work into it more slowly, you know. You don’t want to turn them off before you’ve even had a chance.” Haven’t I read in the Bible somewhere that accusations are straight from the enemy?
You know, there are times people give me the Evil Eye or the glazed look when I mention my faith. Then there are those precious moments when people surprise me by their receptivity.
When I recently attended the ACFW conference in St Louis, Trailways seemed the only option to get there. Halfway to St. Louis, however, our bus started to belch white smoke out the back. After talking with her dispatcher, the driver pulled off at the next exit, turned into the parking lot of an isolated gas station and ordered everyone to grab their belongings, get off the bus, and go “way out there.” Since I was near the front, I heard her mutter her frustration and helplessness. Before I could stop myself, I said, “If it means anything to you (oh dear, how very P.C.!) I’m praying about the situation.” Pause. Wait for the rejection. One, two . . .
She turned around, sighed, smiled and said with a voice laced with relief and gratitude, “Thank you!”
Wow! I’m glad I said it. Because I was willing to be vulnerable with my faith, the sweet fragrance of Christ sifted in and around the smell of overheated diesel and motor oil.
On the way home, I couldn’t get someone to drive me over to the Trailways station. So for the first time in my life, I took a taxi. The concierge at the Hyatt Regency (never mind that guests who stay at the Hyatt Regency are not the type to ride Trailways!) told me I could tell the doorman I needed a taxi and he would wave one down for me. It sounded easy but I was still nervous about this whole procedure.
The next morning, I tootled across the lobby of the Hyatt Regency and approached the door. Without needing to ask him, the doorman looked at me. “Need a cab?” I nodded and he shot out the door, waving his arm like I was someone important enough to be in a hurry about. “Taxi!” A green van sped to the curb, and my efficient doorman grabbed my suitcase and loaded it in the trunk.
So overwhelmed with how slick this all was, I blurted, “Thank you!” handing him $2 instead of the $1 I had planned (I don’t know anything about tipping these dudes). I was so pleased I spilled out more unguarded words. “God bless you.”
He shut the cab’s rear door. “Thanks! I need His blessing.” I caught that whift of Christ’s presence in our wold again.
I didn’t expect him to answer that way. I surprised myself even more. Without missing a beat I spoke what came from my heart. “So do we all.”
You see, we don’t get God’s blessings for the good things we do – like helping befuddled fiction writers find their way to Trailways bus stations. God blesses us not because we deserve it but because we need it.
I don’t know whether or not the doorman was a believer. It doesn’t matter. I was faithful to open my mouth and God blessed me for it by reminding me through my own words that we all need to be humble enough to admit that we need God.
Maybe the ground in St. Louis is a little more fertile than I thought. Maybe I need to reach in my seed bag a little more often and be more courageous – and contagious – in sharing the life Christ lives through me. Maybe if I fill myself up so full of Christ, my seed will overflow and spill out in unexpected words onto receptive ears. And God will bring the increase.