I recently returned to the United States after teaching a class in East Asia.
I had a wonderful trip that was both professionally and spiritually edifying. The resounding takeaway from my time abroad was affirmation that our Holy Spirit works through people.
In a recent blog I mentioned that strong relationships are a key element found in those who are thriving; strong relationships are also how our Lord draws people to him to hear the Good News!
My favorite question to ask my new Brothers and Sisters while abroad was,
They were attracted to the Good News through someone they had met.
A person who was kind, thoughtful, patient, someone who just seemed…in their words, different.
Then that person would often offer to practice speaking English, eventually they were attending Bible studies, becoming baptized and growing in the Word!
Every single person I spoke with (over 20), was drawn to the Good News by a person. It is very encouraging to witness their excitement and zeal!
But what about here at home? Does our Lord work the same way?
I don’t believe we have to travel to a foreign land to witness our Lord calling unbelievers to himself through His people. However, we do have to get to know people who don’t believe and think the same way we do.
It is comfortable and safe to surround ourselves with friends and family who believe the same as us. It is true that spending time with fellow believers encourages us and builds us up, and our Lord encourages us to do so (1 Thessalonians 5:11). But he also commands us through the Great Commission to “Go and Tell” (Matthew 28:19).
Who are we going to?
Who are we telling?
How do we get to know people who don’t know Jesus?
There are as many possibilities as there are people. For example, people are coming to study in our American Universities from all over the world. When we help teach ESL (English as a Second Language) to students, or their spouses, we often have an opportunity to get to know people who don’t know Jesus. People who are away from home and who are longing for authentic relationships.
In this case, we don’t even need to “Go”. God has brought them to us; we simply get to “tell” and then THEY “Go” back to their friends and family at home and share the Good News.
One of my favorite prayers is found in the front of our Christian Worship Hymnal,
For Proper Use of God’s Gifts:
Gracious God, all that I have comes from you: my body and mind, my strength and intelligence, my time and abilities, my energy and possessions. Guard me from the temptation to use these gifts only for my personal benefit. Make me willing to use them joyfully in service to you and to your people.
Gracious God, please use me to draw all those you love closer to you!