Every morning I do my best to rise early and spend some time with God through the reading and prayerful meditation of His word. I start with one Psalm. I discuss this method in detail in my second book (still my favorite), “The Word As A Vehicle.”
The other day I came across the following verse:
Psalms 78:19 “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?”
This is not what I wanted to hear. If you read my last blog, you know our story. A door has not yet opened. Though the job I am working is proving to be a huge blessing, it is not what I saw myself doing this Fall. This season does feel a bit like a wilderness. When I came across this verse, I did not like it. I want God to lead us out of the wilderness, not prepare a table in it. After all, does not a table imply that you are about to sit down, camp out, and be there a while? Oh God, what does this mean?
I have begun praying for God to open doors for me to share the Gospel. I deeply desire to be a real Christian (how many are really left?) with a missionary heart. In my first couple of weeks, I made a point not to share spiritual things. I have been working hard, doing my best to be a team player, and serving even the guys who are not over me in an attempt to win their respect. I believe it is working. And guess what?! This week I had two opportunities to talk about the Lord.
Opportunity #1: Earlier in the week I was walking alongside a fellow worker showing him what my boss wanted him to do in my place. I asked him how his classes were going in college. He said he made a 90 on one of his midterms. I joked with him that I had been a professor over the past two years and that giving midterms was much more fun than taking them. He asked about my degrees. Then, I told him I was wanting to pursue my doctorate because of the passion that the Lord had placed in my heart. I proceeded to tell him that my desire was to use philosophy to point people toward the truth and that I had committed my entire life to do so. The conversation ended shortly thereafter.
I did not break out the Bible or mention the cross. Hopefully that conversation will come. I am a firm believer that rather than lay it on heavy every time so that you feel better about yourself, the loving method is sensitive to the particular person in the particular moment. Always ask, “How do I meet this person where they are at?” If the journey to Christ is 20 steps, you must be okay not always being the one who takes the individual from step 19 to 20. You may be the person God has planted alongside an individual to help him or her go from step 6 to 7. One plants, one waters, but only God gives increase (1 Corinthians 3:7). So I met this guy where he was at and in a way that fit that particular moment on the job. I believe the following seeds were planted:
- B.J. believes in the Lord. Now he knows where he can go if he has spiritual questions or wants to give his life to Jesus.
- The Lord as a plan for a person’s life (which includes him).
- Living a passionate life is not anti-Christian. In other words, it is not antithetical to the Gospel.
Opportunity #2: I make a point almost every day to sit in the break room during lunch with the guys. How can I be a light if I am hiding? I could go in a corner somewhere and read philosophy and prepare for my dream, but I want to be present. Being present requires that I am a light to the guys around me just like I hope to be a light to those I teach one day. If I do not care about sharing Christ with those around me in a metal warehouse, then I will not share Christ with my students and colleagues one day. i refuse to lie to myself. No matter what I am doing on the outside, my heart should be the same.
In the break room yesterday, the guys asked me how I ended up in Mississippi. I then had the opportunity to share one of the most supernatural stories of my life. I will not go into all of the details, but the story involves the Lord speaking to me while standing in the woods, telling me that He would show me what is next before the day was over, and then a man asking me that night if I would be interested in working with teenagers in Mississippi. Again, I did not open the Bible, but seeds were planted.
I believe sharing our faith is to be, in some ways, a very natural thing. All I am doing is loving people, serving, working hard, being respectful, and praying for open doors. God has answered my prayers this week. He is preparing a table in the wilderness.