I was teaching at a Christian conference in a western U.S. city. At the dinner break I loaded my rented van with prayer leaders from around the nation and we set out to search for a restaurant.
To those of you who don't know me well, I'm not the world's best driver. Or, perhaps I am. After all, how can anyone drive like I do and live so long? Anyway, I zipped through traffic, drove through the parking lot of a hamburger joint where I almost ran over what I came to realize were two men. I couldn't see their heads. You see, they were up to their shoulders in a trash dumpster looking for food!
As we passed, one of the men emerged gnawing on a partially eaten (by someone else) chicken leg. With my sense of humor I quipped, "Anyone want to have dinner with these guys?" There was a collective groan, "No way!"
I plopped into the main thoroughfare on the other side of the parking lot and began scouring the roadside ahead for restaurants when I was suddenly arrested. Not by the police. I was arrested by the Holy Spirit.
He said, and I repeated to the group, "You're moving much too fast to hear from me." I begged their indulgence as I made a U-turn and returned to the dumpster. As I pulled up next to the headless torsos, I yelled, "Hey, what are you doing?" They both emerged with surprise. "Uh, trying to find something to eat," Gilbert (I would later know his name) explained.
I looked back into the crowded van and shouted to my passengers, "It's offering time." Almost immediately $30 in cash was handed to the front.
"Here," I said, handing the cash with a gospel track to Paul, the other young man. "This should take care of the food. What's going to take care of your sin?" Gilbert's head dropped as he muttered, "I don't know." Suddenly the Lord gave me a word of knowledge. (A word of knowledge, from 1 Corinthians 12, is Holy Spirit-given insight not known in the natural.)
"Paul, God wants to set you free from a spirit of homosexuality that has you bound." "I know," he said as he burst into tears. In a few more minutes the entire van was interceding and weeping along with Gilbert, Paul and me, as these two young men gave their hearts to Jesus. Needless to say, our dinner was much more enjoyable following this episode.
At a similar conference of national Christian leaders in a major hotel in the Midwest, our group spent three days in discussions on how to reach the nations with the gospel of Christ. The third morning I stopped at the gift shop on my way to the plenary session. As I paid for my chewing gum I took a moment to share the gospel with the young man at the counter.
He was politely interested and grateful that I'd taken time to do so. But clearly he wasn't ready to receive Christ. In parting, I asked, "In what country were you born?" He said he was Pakistani. "Have you worked here all week?" I asked. He said he had. "Has business been good for you?" He said it had. "Has anyone else shared the message of Jesus Christ with you this week?" He admitted that no one had. This news saddened me. I returned to the meeting and told the assembled leaders, “Folks, the Lord has brought the nations to us. While we sit here hour on end and discuss how to reach them, we aren't reaching them at all.”
My question today is, are we too busy "doing Christian things" to BE Christians? Are we too busy making plans to complete the Great Commission to be about the work of completing it? Perhaps today would be a good day to slow down and pay attention to the opportunities God presents to us each day.
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