When I heard that Billy Graham was coming to New York City last summer, I was excited. I have watched his Crusades on television since I was little, and I was grateful to think that God might allow me to be a part of what He would do through Mr. Graham’s ministry.
I was especially interested in taking the Christian Life and Witness classes. I’m a shy person, and, although I have shared my faith with people where I work and with my neighbors, I felt awkward. I also worried that I wasn’t doing enough. I saw evangelists in the subway stations and on street corners, and I was afraid that God expected me to do the same thing. The thought of sidewalk evangelism made me want to run, and I felt terribly guilty for feeling that way. I hoped the classes would help.
From the first evening, it seemed that the Lord was speaking directly to me. I learned that many people feel exactly the same way I did, and a great weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was not necessarily called to preach on the street or in the subway, but I was to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks [me] to give the reason for the hope that [I] have” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV). I had read that verse many times, but somehow it hadn’t penetrated. Here was something I could do.
I also began to see Scripture in a new way. When Jesus explained the parable of the sower to His disciples, He said, “The sower sows the word” (Mark 4:14, NASB). Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “the word of God is living and active” (NIV). Scripture is like living seed, and my job is simply to scatter it. It is not my job to select the ground. It is not my job to fret over the seed. It is “God who causes the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:7, NASB).
As a result of the classes, I now had wonderful new tools, and the Lord began to give me occasions to use them.
One day my son, Michael, and I were loading things in the car for his return to school. In our apartment building elevator was a young man whom I see fairly often. I mentioned that Michael was returning to college, and the young man asked what his major was. I said, “Philosophy.”
He smiled and asked, “What’s the meaning of life?”
Wham! I recognized an open door.
I said, “Well, Michael and I are Christians, so we believe that the purpose of life is to get to know God and to love and enjoy Him forever.”
“There are many paths for that, aren’t there?” asked the young man.
“Well,” I answered, “I know that’s very popular thinking right now, but Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6, NIV). Bang! The seed of Scripture was sown!
Since then, other opportunities have come. I am becoming known in my apartment building as “one of those born-again Christians.” People ask me things. Sometimes they are curious; sometimes they are confrontational. I respond to their questions with, “Well, Jesus said …” and an appropriate Scripture. It is surprising how the living Word and the royal Name seem to spread calming oil on even the most turbulent of waters.
I watch in wonder and without fear as my Father continues to bring people across my path. I see myself as a sower now, entrusted with seed of such power that it is capable of remaking hearts for eternity, of raising from death to life.
Wow! I’m witnessing.