Good morning all-
This week I was back in New Orleans. It was for work so it was full of late nights and early mornings. I normally rent a car but because the meeting was in the French Quarter I decided to cab it. On my way back to the airport a story unfolded that got me thinking about how I spread the word of Jesus Christ.
This is not about there being a right or wrong way to spread the gospel but it is about thoughtful intention. We were made to spread the word and this man did just that but if I weren't a believer I probably would have shut him off completely. He started with, "Are you a believer?" In all my many travels I've never been asked that question so immediately I was intrigued. My answer was yes. He then began to tell me the end times were upon us, stating memorized Scripture so fast I could barely process it and then he told me he was ready. He talked about Satan being a god which he isn't and then talked about all those that would go with him to hell. Now to put this into perspective it's a 20 minute ride to the airport. The minute I heard him say they were going to hell, I asked him, "How do pray for those that don't know Jesus?" His answer was to continue to present Scripture. I love the word so this isn't a bash but he didn't answer my question. And to top it off, he said I know you have lots of questions so find a Jehovah witness and they can answer them. How would he know if I had questions? He wouldn't because I never got an opportunity and on top of that, he never heard my question.
This ride got me to thinking about how I teach the word and how I need to present it to the world. I am not an authority on the Bible but I am a lover of the word. I desire to know it and to be able to witness from it but I also know I can't throw it in a conversation without understanding the person I'm speaking too. I commend the man for having passion for the word but he needed to ask me questions and understand where I am. Again, I am not in judgement. I just realized that at any given time any of us could do that and how wrong it was for a believer, so I can only imagine what it would be like for someone that doesn't believe. As I got out of the cab ride I realized I needed to pray for this man to be able to have wisdom, he already had the passion and for him to learn to pray because we all know prayer helps us see with God's eyes.
I admired this man's tenacity and his willingness to speak of Jesus. He was very brave, probably braver than most. After all, I was a paying customer that could have been offended. I wasn't and I did appreciate his passion and his ability to speak Scripture. Of course, I'm always like that. That's why I appreciate Beth Moore and Anne Graham Lotz. They know their stuff! However, they make us think and they have prayed for wisdom in this fallen world. I'm praying for my cab driver to know the same thing. I hope that God reveals himself to this man and many that are like him. My hope is that every non-believer would know the love of Christ so please join me in praying for the workers and the non-believer. We need people with passion that can state that Jesus is the savior of the world and we need wisdom to know when and where to speak it.
I haven't stopped thinking about my ride for the last three days so I know it happened so that I would think upon it and ask God what I need to do with it. I find that it's not what was said but how it was said that could have turned me completely away and yet, the conversation continues to remind me that we need to speak the word and listen to those we are speaking to. May the Lord of our lives bring forth many that have passion for Him and His word and may many that don't believe find Him in this season.
We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain. But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. (1 Thessalonians 3:2-13 NIV)
My prayer today:
O, Lord thank You for the workers that have passion toward You. Please take away the religion of things and bring about a transformation that puts You at the center of all things. There are so many people that don't know You, including Your people. We come to You today with praise in our hearts and You on our minds. Lift up Your workers and give them wisdom and understanding. Help them reach the unreachable and please give them Your words. We want to know the word better and we need to seek You in every circumstance so please fill our minds and hearts with Your Holy knowledge and help us love better. Make us teachers not preachers and guide our every step to You. We come to You today asking for Your will to be on our lives and those little lambs that You are calling right now. Help us to have passion for Your word and for the sacrifice You made for us. Give us the words to talk to those that turn from You and help us love You every day. Take our sins daily so that we can spread Your word and lift us up when we are weary. For You Lord are the only path to grace, mercy and everlasting love. I pray for women, men and children throughout the world that they would hear this prayer. In Jesus name, AMEN.