He looked befuddled. Standing there at the foot of the escalator with two of the biggest suitcases I’ve ever seen, the young Asian man was stumped. There was no way he was getting those suitcases up the escalator by himself.
We were in the T.F. Green airport in Cranston, Rhode Island, and I was on my way to the rental car desk. I’m often oblivious to the people around me, but this young man caught my eye, and not just because he was blocking the escalator. I gave him a second glance because he reminded me of the Chinese exchange student who’s been visiting our church.
“May I help you?” I said, gesturing to his luggage.
“Thank you so much."
At the top of the escalator I asked, “Where are you going?”
“To the train station. Do you know where it is?”
I didn’t, but as I scanned the signage, I realized that the rental car desk and the train stop were close to each other.
“We’re headed in the same direction,” I said. “I’d be glad to push one of your suitcases.”
He nodded his thanks.
As we walked, he shared with me that he was a freshman student in the United States for the first time for school.
“You are very brave,” I said. “I can’t imagine going to a foreign country all by myself.” I told him a few facts about Rhode Island, then noticed we were nearing the rental car counter and train stop.
He saw the sign too and reached for the handle of the suitcase I’d been pushing.
“Thank you very much for your help.”
And that’s when the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Say something about me, he urged. If you don’t, he’s going to think you’re just a kind American. I want him to know you’re kind because you’re a Christian.
“You’re very welcome,” I said. “I’m a Christian, and I’d like to encourage you, if you get the chance, visit a Christian church. The people will love you there.”
He smiled and nodded, then waved goodbye.
We hear a lot about lifestyle evangelism, which originally meant living our lives according to Christian principles and earning the right to share the Gospel with those around us. Lately, though, it’s morphed into living my life according to Christian principles and hoping someone will ask me about my faith. The difference is that often times people around us don’t connect the dots. We have to do it for them.
It's not enough to do good things, we must also share the reason why we do them.
Every situation is different, and no rule of thumb applies to all scenarios. There are some people in my life, like my coworkers and neighbors, that I have the benefit of a long association. I have time to gradually work God into our conversations, share faith stories, and look for opportunities to love them.
There are others, like the young man I met in the airport, that God gives me one chance to sow a spiritual seed, do a kind deed, or speak a kind word. Whenever I can, I believe I should connect the dots for them by naming the name of Christ.
With a little thought and creativity, it’s not that hard. Or corny. Or awkward.
Here are some ways I’ve used lately:
My Aldi ministry: If you’re familiar with the grocery store Aldi, you know that to use a grocery cart, you have to put a quarter into a slot on the handle and unlock the cart. When you return the cart to the storefront, you get your quarter back. Whenever I have a spare quarter, I look for people to give my grocery cart to so they don’t have to use their own quarter. And when they return the cart, they get to keep my quarter. When they smile and thank me (and they always do), I tell them, “You’re welcome. God bless you.”
My prayer ministry: I always ask my patients how they’ve been since they were in the dental office last. Sometimes they share troubling health or family issues. Instead of saying, “Oh, I’m so sorry,” I listen sympathetically and tell them I’ll pray for them. If I’m feeling especially brave, I ask, “Would it be OK if I prayed for you right now?” So far, no one has refused my offer, and often patients will have tears in their eyes when I say Amen.
These are two simple ideas. I’m sure you have many more. It’s amazing the opportunities God will send us to speak a word in his name, do a kind deed, or pray a heartfelt prayer if we’ll just open our eyes.
Lord, give us eyes to see the people around us who need you. Help us remember that we are your ambassadors, your hands and feet as you reach out to those who don’t know you. Make us bold as lions and gentle as lambs. Remind us that any good within ourselves is because of you. Use us, Lord, to draw others to yourself.
In the precious name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
I’d like to hear your thoughts. Is it enough just to do kind deeds without sharing our reason for doing them? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. And if you have a creative idea to minister in Jesus’ name, I’d love to hear that, too. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online, scroll to the bottom of the post, and leave a comment there.
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