It was only fitting, then, when I was asked to set up a Skype call with several of our foreign missionaries this Sunday--like a cherry on top of a bowl of ice cream, you might say. Either that, or the straw that broke the camel's back. I have never used Skype before and have very little clue how to set it up, but hey, I put a good face on it and agreed anyway. A good learning experience, if nothing else.
I was right, for more reasons than I imagined.
My dad and I get up at the slightly insane time of 4:30AM every Friday morning to go to a men's Bible study at our church. As we would be at the church today (Friday), I set up a time to try and download/test Skype with our mission's coordinator at 7:30AM when our Bible study ended. As my dad had to leave for work right after, I had to drive separately. I did so today, all the while bemoaning the loss of gas and my unavoidable but rather misplaced stigma as a tech guy in the church. But as I constantly have to remind myself, everything works together for God's plan!
You see, God planned to give me an opportunity to be an ambassador for Him today, an opportunity I would have missed if I had not had to drive separately. The long and short of the story is that after messing with Skype for an hour, we finally came to the consensus that it was not going to work for Sunday. It seemed that the morning had turned out to be pretty fruitless, but that is when I had the privilege of meeting Jerry.
Jerry is the older, homeless man that knocked on our church door this morning to ask us (myself, the mission's coordinator, and one other brother in Christ present) if we had an extra blanket. Turns out, he slept outside last night in below-freezing temps a little ways from our church. We quickly invited him into the church, and though we didn't have any extra blankets, we did give him about 4 cups of coffee, some fruit, and a couple platefuls of scrambled eggs--all of which he ate ravenously. I couldn't help but think of the "least of these" passage in Mathew, and I was honored to be a part of helping serve this man.
In talking with Jerry, I learned that he was wanting to get to California. I explained to him that he was heading in the wrong direction unless he wanted to head over the pass to the East side of Washington(he was almost literally walking/hitch-hiking towards the backwoods). He asked me if that is where they grow a bunch of apples. I said yes. He said he might be able to get a job there. And just like that, his destination was changed to a more reasonable goal. Eventually I offered (after getting the OK from my dad, of course) to take him out to a nearby highway where he could hitch-hike in the right direction.
As I drove along with this ragged man in my truck, I felt led to try and witness to him. Now, I have literally witnessed about 4 times in my life. I am not completely comfortable with it yet, and honestly, after a less-than-friendly experience with trying to witness to a guy on a sidewalk, I have second-guessed my ability to even witness at all! Yet, it was as if God was tapping me on the shoulder, saying, "Come on, what are you waiting for? I have dropped a perfect opportunity in your lap, and My Holy Spirit is with you. I will give you the words to speak!"
It took me about ten minutes of small talk to finally work up my nerve, but then I started steering our conversation in a spiritual direction. I asked Jerry if he had been part of a church family (we were talking about his past), and this question spring-boarded us into a conversation about the gospel! Jerry had some really mixed up ideas about Jesus, and I explained to him what the Bible really teaches and shared with him Romans 10:9. Nothing really theologically deep, but I am sure God led me to speak just what Jerry needed to hear!
I prayed for Jerry before we parted ways, and he seemed visibly moved when he got out of my truck. I left feeling the most joyful in Christ I have felt in a long while! I wouldn't trade my experience this morning for anything.
As I was thinking back on this later this afternoon, I was reminded of one of my memory verses:
Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:5-6 NIV)
This was a very real verse to me this morning, as it should be to every Christian! Though I believe the Holy Spirit will lead us to speak just the right words when we witness, we still need to study and memorize scripture so that we may know how to answer everyone! I personally have a long ways to go before I can have an answer for everyone, but it is my desire to keep growing in Christ! How about you? I believe that every true follower of Christ will be led to share their faith at least in some form during their lives. It is, after all, our job (see the Great Commission in Mathew 28:18-20). Whether you think you can or not, you are God's ambassador. I didn't plan to go out of my way to witness today, but God did.
Will you be ready? Will you make the most of every opportunity?