Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Beyond Blaze Again

The following account is not about the actual Blaze conference. But I think that it could rightly be described a result of it.

The week before Easter, my Great Uncle Jerry ;-) and Aunt Lucretia were in town, and my family wanted to go somewhere neat with them. They decided to go to the zoo. Unfortunately, the only day they could go was a day I had to work (argh, being in the workforce -.-), so I didn't get to go. The night before they were going to go, however, Michael made a suggestion that surprised me. Valerie and I were sitting on the couch, and he comes up to us, saying, "Hey Val, how about you and me go proselytize someone tomorrow?" Valerie did a huge double take at his vocabulary, but I replied right away, "Yeah! How about two people, one for each of you?" After we set Val straight on what he meant by proselytize (go up to someone at the zoo, start a conversation with them, and if possible share Christ with them), he excitedly came up with Inspiration #2: "How about everyone talk to someone? Liz can talk to someone at the library, Dad can talk to someone at work, Chris... etc." Ok, now this was getting personal. But hey, how can I say no? How could I want to? I've never seen this brother be excited about this stuff before! So I agreed. Now if I was in, I was going to be all in. So I started praying, and thinking about who I could talk to.

Now as it happened, Chris wanted to use the truck that day (he wasn't going the zoo either), so he dropped me off at the library. He said that he could pick me up when I was done, but I told him it wasn't necessary. I figured I would get a ride from someone. There's a certain really nice lady that I work with: she goes to church because her daughter likes going to Sunday School, but I don't think that she has a genuine relationship with Christ. Maybe I could talk to her. And, if she wasn't there, then I could just walk the two miles home. It was a nice day... and I might meet someone on the way.

Well, she wasn't working that day. Alright, walking it would be. Oh boy, talking to strangers. When my shift was over, I got on the library computers as is my custom. But it wasn't too long before I started to get fidgety. I had to get going. What if I was late for a divine appointment? So I got going.

It was a sunny and breezy day. Most of my route home is neighborhoods and lots of people were out and about. The first house I walked by the garage was open, and a guy was walking around, rather aimlessly it seemed to me. I wondered as I walked past whether he was who God wanted me to talk to. Now when you simply wonder instead of actually ask it's easier to substitute your own answer instead of God's. It's like pretending to listen. But God doesn't give up that easy. Several houses later, I still couldn't get the guy out of my head. All right, all right! I told God, "Ok, I'll turn around, and if he's still there, I'll talk to him."

Well, what do you know: he was still there. Here I go. I stepped into the driveway. "Excuse me?" He turned around. "Yes?" "Well," I answered, "I couldn't help but notice, but you didn't seem too busy... would it be all right if I asked you a question?" The guy was probably about my age. Not overly talkative or friendly, but not hostile either. He probably thought I was selling something. (Not entirely wrong, I guess). He shrugged, so I plunged ahead. "If you died tonight, do you know what would happen to you?" His face was getting more stoic by the second, but he shook his head no. "Well, if I could tell you how you could know you were going to heaven for sure, would that be good news?" Abruptly, he turned on his heel with a "Have a good day" and retreated into the garage. I was undeniably dismissed. Whoa! Must've hit a nerve there!

After that experience, I was tempted to think, "Well, that's enough. I've filled my out-of-comfort-zone quota for the day." But when you do something like talking to strangers for Jesus' sake, something funny happens. You get a shot of spiritual adrenaline. I wanted to try again. After all, I hadn't really shared the gospel with anyone yet. So I kept my eyes open.

Fast forward about a mile. I walk right past a certain playground, which of course was filled with people. On pretense of putting a can in the garbage I enter. It feels very odd to be here all by myself without some other kids with me. But today I have a mission. Who am I here to talk to? There's a nice looking lady with 2 young children on a picnic blanket... maybe her. I head in their direction... and chicken out. I walk right past them. Deja vu, anyone? I circle around again, and this time stop. "Hello." "Hi," The mom answers. She is friendly, and I am relieved. I comment on her cute kids. The little girl starts chattering with me. Then, I get sudden inspiration. I invite them to the Easter Egg hunt that our church is having this weekend. After some discussion on directions to get there, the lady mentions that they currently don't have a church that they attend. So I happily invited them to come any Sunday as well. No deeper topics were broached, but I continued on my walk happy and hopeful.

In the end, I never did actually "share the gospel" with anyone that day. But who knows what God will do by one girl's meager attempts to obey. Maybe that guy talked that night with his friend about this weird girl who wanted to tell him how to get to heaven, and maybe his friend is a Christian and has been waiting for an opportunity like this to share with him. Or maybe the lady (I know her name but am not going to share it here) will decide sometime that she wants to find a good church and will think of ours. In any case, now that I've met them, I can pray for them. A few more people in this world that aren't faceless to me anymore.

Working with Jesus is truly an adventure! And I know I haven't tasted the half of it.