10/14/13 Emily about 20
It was 3AM this morning at a deserted gas station. I was starting a long road trip back to Chicago from Minnesota. I filled up the tank, and paid at the pump. I was ready to go but looked toward the brightly lit gas station store. It was empty of customers, but I knew somewhere in there was the attendant, working the night shift. I knew this person needed the gospel. Even if they were already a Christian, they needed the gospel. We all do. So I walked over to the store, and found two attendants on duty. One was Emily, about 20. I used a “million dollar” gospel tract as a conversation starter, and Emily was more than happy to talk about the fact of sin, her need for forgiveness, and the impossibility of earning that forgiveness. It seemed like refreshing news to her that we can be saved by grace, through faith in Jesus, not by works. She had attended what I believe to be a Bible based, Christ centered church, but has fallen away from attending because she felt it to be too big and hadn’t been able to connect. She was familiar with another, similar church, though much smaller, and excitedly declared she’d start attending there. Whether Emily was already a believer, confused about her faith, or a lapsed seeker needing to be redirected back into church (though I am well aware “there are none who seek after God” – Romans 3) I felt like God used me somehow this morning. As always, after our conversation I thought “Why don’t Christians do this more often?” Why don’t we? Many believers rightly point to the fact that most people in their church didn’t become believers from having the gospel shared with them through a stranger on the street, so they don’t bother to share their faith with strangers themselves. On the one hand, what is more important, “results” or being true to scripture? But, on the other hand, I do wonder why it is that so few people have come to faith through a stranger? Could it just be a negative sequence of cause and effect, that most Christians don’t believe it is effective, so they don’t bother doing it, so there are few people sharing with strangers, and fewer becoming believers through strangers, leading to more believers thinking it ineffective? Could my conversation with Emily be a way to stop that vicious cycle?. I doubt she came to faith through our short conversation, though it is very possible. But what if she does get back involved in church, come to faith, grow in maturity, and one day remember back and realize the value of that late night conversation with a stranger? What if she in turn begins reaching out and beginning gospel conversations, as I did with her? This could be the start of something big!