Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Meet My Assistant.....Wade

It's not always easy to find a partner for evangelism. Well, today the Lord blessed me with, shall we say, an unusual partner. I would like you to meet Wade--Wade the Duck. Look: I know some of you who are faithful readers of The Centurion Papers think that 1) I might need to get a grip; or 2) I might be holding on too tight. But, before you cry foul (or should I say "fowl"), let me explain.

I live in a homeowners' association that includes a small lake, nestled in the center of our condominium complex. For years, the lake was referred to as "the moat." It was often covered in algae, which caused it to stink. The fountains never worked, and it was not, well, teeming with life (at least not above the size of bacteria).

Well, over the last several years, the HOA Board of Directors has done a great job taking our little lake from serving as a CDC project, to a thriving ecosystem. We now have water fowl of various kinds, turtles, fish, squirrels, and other birds that call our lake home. No, I haven't gone completely green. Relax. :-)

Lately, I have taken to spending my prayer and Bible reading time at lakeside. The sound of the fountains and critters, along with the beauty of God's creation and the fresh air that He provides (yes, even in southern California), makes the lake a peaceful place to pray and read that is void of many of the typical distractions.

That was the plan for this afternoon. After a busy day of blogging and doing other things, and wanting to catch my breath before the evening's Bible study at church, I went to my spot at the lake--just me, my lawn chair, my Bible, prayer journal, and gospel tracts (just in case).

I had hoped that a certain lady would walk by. She lives in our condo community and I see her walk by often, as I'm reading. The other day, she stopped and said hello. Then she offered me a Book of Mormon. I politely declined the offer, then.....nothing. That's right. I completely blew it. It was as if the Lord had tossed me a pitch in a slow-pitch softball game and I totally whiffed. (Did I, like, just use the word "totally?" Like, I can't believe it. But I digress.) I missed a perfect opportunity to engage the lady in spiritual conversation.

I got myself situated and opened my Bible. Within a few minutes, I noticed two young people (late teens, early twenties) walking around the lake, and heading in my direction. They stopped several feet away from me so they could look at the ducks.

Enter Wade.

The young lady told the young man that she wanted the white duck. She began to make observations about the duck's plumage, which was distinctly different from that of the mallard ducks in the area.

"His name is Wade." I told them. "He's a domesticated duck."

"He's a what?" She asked.

"He's a domesticated duck. You know, the kind of duck you might find on a farm. Someone dumped him in the lake several years ago. One of my neighbors gave him the name 'Wade,' and it kind of stuck."

"So, I can take him!" She said with sarcastic excitement in her voice.

"Umm, well, I can't tell you what to do; but I think Wade likes it here."

"How do you know Wade is a he?"

"We're not that close. I don't know for sure that Wade is a he."

"How can you tell if he is a he or a she."

"Like I said, we're not that close. I don't know how to tell the difference."

The two looked at the ducks for a couple more minutes. As they started to walk by me, as if the were leaving, I said, "You may not get to keep Wade, but I have something you probably want more than Wade."

I reached into my shirt pocket and removed two Million Dollar Bill gospel tracts. "Here's a million dollars."

"Now I can buy Wade!" She said with a giggle.

"Umm, I don't think that duck is worth a million dollars. I don't think it will be laying any golden eggs anytime, soon."

They both laughed. I introduced myself and I learned that their names were Jessica and Barry. Jessica has lived in my condo community for a couple of years, but I had never seen her before. Barry was one of Jessica's friends from high school who was just hanging out with her.

"Jessica, let me ask you this. What if that was a real million dollar bill and I said you could have it if you gave me one of your eyes, for scientific research. I would give you a very nice, glass eye to replace the one you give me, but you wouldn't be able to see out of it. Would you sell me your eye for a million dollars?"

"No. I have pretty eyes. I love my eyes."

"What if I offered you five million dollars for both of your eyes. You would be very rich, but blind as a bat. Would you do it?"

"No way."

"So, your eyes are precious to you?"


"Well, then, let me ask you this. If your eyes are precious to you, shouldn't your soul, which will live forever, be even more precious to you?

That began an hour-long spiritual conversation in which I had the blessing of presenting Jessica and Barry with the Law and the Gospel. Several minutes into the conversation, Barry took a seat on a nearby rock and Jessica made herself comfortable on the sidewalk.

Along the way, I learned that Barry is studying Chinese at our local community college, with the hope of one-day living and working in China. He was born and raised in a small Georgia community, with a vast civil war-era history. I learned that Jessica, born and raised in our city, plans to go to cosmetology school, someday. We talked about their plans, the ups and downs in their lives, the Bible, heaven, hell, judgment, wrath, the Law, grace, forgiveness, and the Gospel. I even read to them from my Bible.

We had never met before our conversation by the lake. We may never see each other again. But we talked as though we had been friends for years. No arguing. No fighting. There was laughter, light-hearted banter, friendly disagreement, understanding, and seriousness.

It only takes a minute to establish rapport (a relationship) with a person--even total strangers (like Barry and Jessica). All you have to do is care more about the person with whom you want to share the gospel than you care about what that person will think of you if you do share the gospel with them.

All you have to do is love the person more than you fear his or her possible reaction to the Law and the Gospel.

All you have to do is place a higher value on compassion for a lost person than you place on your personal comfort, or even your safety.

All you have to do is want the person to go to heaven more than you want the person to like you.

All you have to do is speak the truth in love (see Eph. 4:15).

Is it always easy? No. But if it was always easy, it wouldn't require faith. And without faith it is impossible to please God (see Heb. 11:6).

Can it be scary, at times? Sure. But your love for Christ and your love for the lost will cast out those fears (see 1 John 4:15-21) and give you the boldness (see Acts 4:13) and compassion (see Matt. 9:36-38; Phil. 2:1-2; Gal. 3:12) to share the Law and the gospel with those who are lost and bound for hell--whether they are friends, family, co-workers, or complete strangers.

Come on, Christian. You can do this. I know you can! If you love Jesus you will tell others about Jesus and the way to eternal life that only He can provide (see Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; John 14:15; Acts 4:18-20; 1 Cor. 9:16).

Please visit The Way of The Master if you would like to learn how to effectively and, more importantly, biblically share your faith. And please visit Adventures in Christianity if you would like to talk to and learn from other Christians, from around the world, who engage in biblical evangelism as a way of life.

Please pray for Barry and Jessica. Pray that they will, by the sovereignty and grace of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit, come to genuine repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.


Shark Girl said...

I enjoyed this story. Thanks for sharing it. You always seem to run into unique witnessing opportunities.

You have a great writing talent for expressing those opportunities too. I like reading your stories.


Willem said...

Hi Tony

I am extra introvertical, so it is hard for me to speak to strangers about the natural, let alone the spiritual; and so I have missed quite a lot of witnessing opportunities. But through God's grace that is s-l-ow-ly changing
:-) I will be praying for the mormon lady, as well as for you, Wade, Barry and Jessica!

Yours in Christ