It was a beautiful summer evening. My husband and I were attending a baseball game of the local Class A minor league team. The atmosphere there is always fun and positive. We were there as part of a professional group to which my husband belongs. They had reserved a big room where we could watch the game and enjoy roasters full of burgers and brats.
I didn’t know many of the people there, but I enjoyed chatting with new acquaintances as we watched the game. A young man stopped by to visit, and we found a shared interest in children. He was a coach, and I am a retired teacher. We talked for quite a while about the wonder of working with children and impacting their lives. I shared a photo of our Liberian God-children and talked about how blessed we feel to have them in our lives. After a good long talk, he went to visit with others, and I returned to watching the game.
A while later, he returned, and we chatted more. He asked how my husband and I had connected with the Liberian family. I told him they had come to our church shortly after arriving in our town. We were “volunteered” by other members to help them through the service so they could navigate the service folder-to-hymnal-and-back rhythm of our services. That first service of helping became an every-week event. When the family had two children, my husband and I became their sponsors. Our two families merged.
The young man asked the church’s name. When I included the word “Lutheran” in the name, he looked at me askance and asked, “What kind?” At my answer “Missouri Synod,” he dropped his head a bit and said “I knew it.” It turned out he had been raised in a Missouri Synod Lutheran church, but was no longer attending. I invited him to join us at our church, but he responded he would go to the church his mom attended if he went to church. Then he commented “My mom would drop over dead if I walked into church.” I told him she would die a happy mamma. His next comment was that God would laugh if he went back to church. I responded that He was probably already giggling. When the young man questioned my comment, I said, “Look at who you are talking to and what you are talking about. He is certainly watching over you.”
I encouraged that young man to go back to his church. His mother and the congregation would be happy to include him. I reminded him that God wants us to be with our church family for encouragement and support. I don’t know what happened next in that young man’s life. I am positive God brought us together at that ball game so I could nudge him back towards an active faith life. I will never know how my words impacted this young man, but I know they impacted me. I was reminded to trust God with all I do, and to let Him use my actions for His purposes. It is always time to Go and Tell!
And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say (Luke 12:11-12).
Opportunities to share our faith can come at unexpected times. It may not always be the right time to share the entire Gospel of Christ, but we can often share God’s love and encouragement in a few words or actions. We may not see how God uses our words. We may not know how our small action may be part of a larger story.
Think of a time when your words or actions have shared God’s love.
Remember a time when you felt God used someone to encourage you.
Heavenly Father, use me. Put me in places where my words and actions can help others come closer to You. Holy Spirit, fill me with the right words. Guide me to speak boldly and clearly so the Gospel is heard. Christ Jesus, forgive me when I am weak. Help me to trust Your words that I am never alone. Give me the strength to speak and to act in ways that spread Your story. Confident in Your promises, I pray in Your name. Amen.
Written by Martha Hartwig
We would love to hear YOUR stories! Please send them to the Vice President of Gospel Outreach here.
Thanks from the Gospel Outreach Committee!