A year and a half ago God used the death of a friend—an everyday evangelist—to spur me to talk with strangers about Jesus. Even though I’ve grown in initiating conversations with others since then, I’ve periodically asked God if it’s just a phase. His recent answer bellowed to me from Scripture.
I was reading Luke 5, where Jesus climbs into the boat with Peter, James, and John. They had fished all night and came up empty-netted, and when Jesus told them to try again they balked. But they obeyed, and soon their nets broke with fish and their boat nearly sank. They were shocked by the miracle and convicted of their own sin, realizing they were in the presence of God. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”
“From now on.”
Not, “For the next season.” Or, “For the next few years while I’m here to stir your passion.” Or, “For the next phase of your life.”
No, “This is your life FROM NOW ON—speaking words of life about Me to others.”
My Personal Highlight from a National Conference and the March for Life
I recently attended a national conference and the March for Life in Washington DC. The highlight could’ve been hearing Joni Eareckson Tada’s keynote, or worshiping with hundreds of believers, or seeing two bald eagles soar over tens of thousands of pro-lifers gathered at The Mall while House Speaker Paul Ryan gave rousing remarks.
But the highlight for me was a four-minute conversation with “Talib,” the young man who helped me with my luggage.
I don’t remember my opening question to him, but before long we were talking about his homeland—Ethiopia.
He described it as a beautiful country, and one that he hoped to return to soon.
His parents had come to the United States years before, and he came more recently to further his education. His day job was helping people like me, and his night job was taking I.T. courses. He hoped to use what he was learning in the States to start a business in Ethiopia.
I sensed his appreciation for America, his aspirations for his future, and most of all his deep love for Ethiopia. But there was also an air of uncertainty in him, not knowing how it would all work out.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 came to mind, and I shared it with him. I said, “God loves you so much, Talib, and He has good plans for your life. I’ll be praying for you.”
Talib’s dark eyes twinkled. He nodded and said, “Thank you, ma’am.”
Just a simple exchange. Talib shared his dreams, and I shared a few hope-filled words from Scripture. Nothing earth-shattering.
What was shattered was the wall of silence that can exist between us and people we don’t know. It reminds me of Proverbs 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Commentators have various explanations of its meaning. But in the context of having life-giving conversations with strangers, my paraphrase goes like this, “A word of truth, lovingly spoken, is like a gentle hammer that shatters the wall of silence between people.”
Leaders lead. Leaders initiate. Leaders bring change. From now on, let’s lead by speaking words of life about Jesus to others, everywhere we go.
What was the most recent life-giving exchange you had with someone? Feel free to share it in the Comment Section below.