Friday, February 11, 2011

Go Ye Therefore and Teach All Nations

Mark 14:15 - And He said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation."

As Christians, we are exhorted time and again to promote the Kingdom of God and the good news of Jesus Christ who has entered our lives and transformed them forever. I hate to admit it, but evangelism has never been my strong suit; the only persons around whom I've ever felt comfortable sharing my faith walk were other Christians. Until an incident that occurred last week, I thought by inviting someone to my church or sharing that my husband and I are in the praise band, I was fulfilling the commandment to spread the Gospel. God revealed to me, gently but firmly, that this was not enough and decided it was high time I understood what true evangelism looks like.

As my daughter, granddaughter and I exited Walmart and neared my car, we were approached by a petite, wiry woman of middle-age wearing a knit beanie cap that appeared cemented to her head. It was the only piece of clothing she sported that was suitable for winter weather. With no wisps of hair escaping from beneath the cap to soften the woman's scarred, pinched face, it formed a cruel frame for her features, making her brown, pleading eyes an anomaly in her otherwise hardened visage. When she spoke, her voice, while not unpleasant, betrayed a slight rasp that suggested years of abuse.

"Excuse me, ma'am, but I'm homeless. Could you spare something to help me get out of this cold?"

Hesitantly, I answered in the affirmative and was instantly inundated by a Pandora's box of conflicting thoughts. "What if she's scamming me? She does look pretty rough, though, like she really has been through the wringer. I don't like her in my space, especially with Sarah and the baby here. Oh, come on, look at her; she's so tiny, the wind could knock her over any minute. Does Walmart know they have a homeless person hitting people up for money right here in their parking lot? Why me, Lord, do I look like a sucker? For heaven's sake, she's God's child, too. Unto the least of these . . ."

I handed the woman five dollars for which she politely thanked me and darted away with surprising speed, either eager to escape the cold or to stalk her next victim. When the three of us were finally settled in the car, she was nowhere in sight. I sighed, said a prayer for her, and cranked the engine for the drive home.

For several days after this encounter, I found myself thinking about the pitiful waif of a woman who had asked me for help. I replayed the scene, trying to determine if I had been duped or if she was truly in the dire straits she claimed to be. I wondered if any other people had opened their purses for her that day as I had and, unexpectedly, I discovered I was praying that they had. That was the moment the Lord opened the eyes of my heart: I had prayed for her, all well and good, but I should have prayed with her! I missed a perfect opportunity to tell her how much Jesus loves her. Had I done so, she would have walked away with so much more than five dollars. I pray that someone else did on that day what I should have done, but I do know that I will never allow a golden moment to share the love of Christ slip from my fingers again.

With whom will you pray today?

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I have heard before that God doesn't ask us to determine what someone does with our help, that is between them and God. Our job is to "feed His sheep". Thanks for the reminder!


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