6/25/15 Jose 18
“It looked like it was going to rain, so I thought I would take the bus instead of walking. But something told me to walk anyway, and I’m sure glad I did!” That’s what Jose, 18, told me at the end of a street corner witnessing conversation. What he didn’t know was that a series of “random” occurrences, ending with a parking spot just happening to open up, had led me to that corner at the exact time he was walking by. I believe it was no accident that Jose was able to hear the Gospel at this point in his life. He has just graduated from high school. After several years of following the crowd into drugs and alcohol, he had suddenly decided to live life more responsibly at the beginning of his senior year, so he gave up the party scene and took life – and God – more seriously. Though he didn’t really understand it in these terms, he had basically repented of sin as far as he knew it, but, like the disciples of John and John’s baptism of repentance, he didn’t really know where to turn next. When we met he was two weeks out of high school and wondering what to do with his life. I had come to faith in Jesus years earlier at about this same point in my life, so I felt I had a lot in common with him.
But, despite all that these “coincidences”, one thing I think I have learned is not to try to strategize when it comes to the Gospel. I shouldn’t rely on my common sense or reasoning as to when and to whom I should share the good news of Jesus. The message of the Gospel is meant to be shared at any place and at any time. For some like Jose, it might appear to be just the right time for them to hear it. Others might tuck what they learn of the Gospel away in the recesses of their memory until such a time as the Holy Spirit decides to work through it. I couldn’t have planned to meet Jose and share the gospel at such a key time in his life if I tried. And I’d like to say he immediately put his faith in Jesus upon hearing my message. But he didn’t. At least, not that I’m aware of. That’s for the Holy Spirit to know and to bring about in Jose’s heart. This has both good and bad implications for sharing the Gospel. The bad is that when we it seems obvious that someone will be ready to receive the Gospel, they often don’t. The good news is we don’t have to wait for the “perfect storm” Holy Spirit moment to share the gospel. God is ready to work though us any time we are ready to be obedient and share it.