Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Evangelism and Orchestras

The Apostle Peter says it plainly in 1 Peter: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15, NIV)

As I get older (and have made more mistakes), I have come to the conclusion that evangelism is best thought of as an orchestra conducted by God.  The part you play when you look at the music might make very little sense, but when God puts it all together the results are thunderous - they hold us spellbound.

When we share with people why we believe, it simply isn't possible to hold court and tell your life story.  Single notes are often what we are called to.  You say them, and then have to know that God is the one piecing together the music in that person's life.  If we really believe that God cares more for our friends and family, and longs to bring them to Him, we can relax, and play our one note on the musically speaking spiritual equivalent of a triangle when God calls us to do so.
In light of the fact that we can just say our piece and leave it, here is a personal note to encourage anyone in their faith.  

I have a precious old friend, Natalie, who struggles with her Christian faith.  She has some deep worries about her son, Justin; however, after years of friendship, I know that talking to her about God right now could be disrespectful.  She's just not in that space right now.  Regardless, God orchestrates His evangelism. 

Natalie recently shared some pretty serious concerns about Justin over a lunch we had recently. I went home, thought about and prayed for Justin and his dear parents.  

Three days later, I was unpacking boxes in our office.  Completely by coincidence, I decided to open a different box I haven't looked at in years.  The very first item my hand fell on was a set of pictures of Justin at his first birthday party and baby dedication (protestant).  I have photos of their pastor praying over Justin in his father's arms, Natalie wiping away tears, and everyone gathered there to love and support this little boy.  We were dedicating ourselves to supporting him in his faith. It stopped me in my tracks.  

This was my triangle moment.  It was like God let me know he remembered the promise everyone had made that day to support Natalie and her husband as they raised their son.  I picked up my triangle so to speak and did a very simple thing. I scanned the photos and sent them to Natalie.  I told her just briefly by text, how I had prayed for Justin and then found these photos completely by chance (I have a lifetime of these 'chances') and I promised to pray regularly for him.  That's all I felt I could do.  My friend said the timing for her was so unbelievable and felt the photos were literally, "heaven sent". 

I didn't push it any further.  I haven't bugged her again.  It would feel opportunistic to me.  I don't feel that is what God wants me to do.  

I will; however, continue to pray for both my friend and her son.  I will try and listen for further "triangle playing" moments.  When God points his conductor's baton at me for just a moment and asks me to play another note, God-willing, I will be sensitive to His urging, and play my small part in the lives of those He loves.

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