In the article “The Problem with Loving Our Space” which can be read here. I mention the story below but it was more brief. Down below I lay it all out. This is what God brought to me when I had asked him earlier why was I having so much difficulty in evangelizing? He answered. He always does.
I just submitted my online assignment for my New Testament class, and Callie, my gracious wife, was watching teaching lectures. It was around 6 o’clock on a Saturday night; we didn’t have any plans. An hour later I saw some headlights in our driveway. We live in a duplex and some of my old roommates are moving in next to us. So I thought it was one of them. I looked closer. I didn’t know of anyone who drove a green Chevrolet Suburban. My wife turned off our living room light. We both peeked through the blinds. Someone knocked on our door. It was some guy who resembled Skip Bayless. He was speaking quickly. I could not make out all that he said, but I did notice he was giving away a $5 Wal-Mart card. Neat! He held it out like I was supposed to grab the card. As soon as I did he welcomed himself in after stomping his shoes on our “welcome” mat. Then before I could blink he went out to the vehicle. He sent another person with vacuum equipment. I remembered what he said now. Something about shampooing our carpets, and cleaning our kitchen floor. Strange. The other guy came in. I was holding onto the gift card, and my wife was glaring at me confused. He walked in and I closed the door. I asked him what he was doing and why that other guy let himself in our house. He explained the guy was kind of different. It was awkward, but this other guy who looked like Richie Valens, you know, La Bamba? Anyways he explained more clearly what they were at our house for. He was a vacuum salesman/demonstrator. I was down for a demonstration if it meant free cleaning! Callie didn’t seem too sure but we didn’t have anything else to do that night. He was nervous because like Callie told me later that I was a bit unwelcoming. If somebody came into without you letting them in your house would you be frustrated and uneasy? However I do see now my uneasiness came from something deeper inside my heart. You see this guy was standing inside my house. This was my “property” if I paid rent on time! Ultimately this was my space and I didn’t know this guy.
I was upset at the Skip Bayless doppleganger, but that rolled over onto the Valens look alike. I asked the young man his name. His name is Freddie. He is originally from California. His father passed away when he was 16. After his dad passed. He took over as head of household. He graduated high school and headed to Kansas to study to be a pastor. That quickly ended once he ran out of funds. He worked for several companies until he landed in Fort Smith. He was 22 when he started working for the Kirby vacuum distributor. They have employed him since the summer.
The reason I know all these things about Freddie is because I recognized my uneasiness about my love for my self and my love for space. Then I saw the opportunity for evangelism. Freddie was a guy I have never met before. (Nor will I ever meet him again unless the Sovereign Lord causes our paths to cross again) Therefore I do not know if the Lord knows Him one of His children. And I do not know of what other opportunities he has to hear the Gospel.
He was halfway through his demonstration before he asked me what I did. I told him I worked at a factory in Clarksville, and I was studying Bible. That is when he told me he was studying to become a pastor before he moved to Arkansas. His question started the conversation where I was able to share my faith, and answer his questions. He grew up Catholic. He remembers praying their prayers, and reciting certain liturgy. But since he has moved to Arkansas he hasn’t found a church. I never asked him why. He told me it was strange that he has went into several homes in his two months of working and the majority of them have been Christian. (Most of them only told him they went to church and asked him why he didn’t) Our conversation was different. We talked about what it means to be a Christian, and what Christ commands us to do. I told him if he believed that he was a Christian that he didn’t have to go to church. But if he were a Christian he would obey Gods commands. He understood that he couldn’t claim to be a Christian and forsake the gathering of the saints. Then I asked him if he had a Bible. I told him to answer me honestly. He said he didn’t have one, and then I asked him if he would accept one from me. I gave him mine, and a book called Knowing God. He left around 10:00 p.m. and today I hope he finds a body of believers that love him. I hope they are serving him, and feeding him good Gospel truths. I hope he explores the mind of God, and his heart is full of sound wisdom from Gods word.
November 16, 2015
This past Sunday a man named Don Simmons filled in the pulpit for our pastor whose wife’s grandfather had passed. Dr. Simmons who is a dentist in Russellville also serves as a lay pastor for a Little Rock church. Dr. Simmons preached over three passages about proclaiming the Gospel. He urged us to examine our evangelism. Near the end he told us an illustration that will never leave my heart. To sum it up, it was about a sailor man who promised God that he would share the Gospel on George Street every day. He did so for 40 years, but HE NEVER HEARD BACK FROM ANYONE IF HIS EFFORTS IN TELLING SAILORS ABOUT CHRIST EVER TOOK. Until one day man came to him telling him all that God had done through this old man’s faithful proclaiming of the Gospel on George Street. It struck me that it doesn’t matter if I ever hear about any of my opportunities to evangelize ever make a difference. It’s not about me knowing, but about me obeying by telling of His grace in my life. It is our duty as Christians in our evangelism to trust God will turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh according to His will, not ours. Trust His will not your own.
My awakening occurred at 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday night when I saw my selfishness in wanting to keep my space for myself and not for others. Yet God in His love showed me my selfish heart and told me to turn to His purpose in that moment. I did, and He showed me that the reason I don’t evangelize well and the reason the average Christian doesn’t evangelize at all, is due to the fact that we tend to avoid any encounters we could have with unbelievers.
Christian, will you hold onto the space God has given you loosely so that others (unbelievers) are welcome in and not shut out of your life? If we would be willing to encounter unbelievers no matter what the circumstance I think we would see how often God allows us to testify of His goodness amongst the lost.