Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Friday, June 8

I'm a link!

At heart I am an evangelist.  I want to spread the good news about Jesus as far as possible.  I want to tell everybody.  When I get to heaven, I want to meet people who say "I am here becasue of you".

The trouble is, I don't really have the gift of evangelism.  I don't find that when I tell them, people sign up for the deal.  For most of my life, my only achievement has been to convert an agnostic into an athiest.

The reality is that in western society, it is quite rare for someone to move from unbelief to belief as the result of one conversation with one person.  More commonly, it's a combination of a lot of incidents, lots of links in the chain, that nudge a person towards faith.

A long time ago I went to see our reclusive neighbour.  I think it was about the fence between her garden and ours.  She invited me in, and I found myself in a very messy house, with an under-exercised dog and an overweight and unhappy woman suffering mobility problems.  As part of the conversation, it came out that I am a lay minister in the church, and I offered to pray for her to be healed.  She accepted, and I laid hands on her and prayed.  OK, it wasn't clever that I laid hands on the nearest part of her body which was her knee - could have been misinterpreted.  OK, she wasn't healed.

I went home.  didn't think much about it.  Occasionally felt guilty that I hadn't followed up the contact.  Had occasional dealings with her over a shared water supply pipe, but didn't really get engaged in conversation.

But recently, my daughter's ladybird tent was picked up by the wind and dumped over the fence.

I had to go round and see the lady again.

When she opened the door, it was like a different woman.  Broad smile.  Colourful clothes.  Much slimmer.  "you're looking well" I blurted.  Expalied about the tent.  Went through her tidy house to shunt the tent back over the fence.  Then she said "I'm coming to your church tomorrow night for the joint service" [when the main members of the town's 'Churches together' group worship as one on a bi-monthly basis].  It turns out that she has been attending a course similar to the Alpha course at the Elim Pentecostal church, has also done a counselling course and is joining their counselling team.  She didn't say explicitly 'I've been born again' - but the evidence was there.  She did say that she was really touched by the time I prayed with her (and I don't think that was an allegation of sexual assault on her knee!), and from the contetext of the conversation it was apparent that it had been a factor in her being open to the church. 

So I was a link in that lady's salvation, and I feel that my life on earth has started to be worthwhile.

To fulfill the Great Commission, we don't have to drag people all the way from unbelief to belief in one session.  It's just a matter of giving them those little nudges in the right direction.

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