How Doing One Thing Can Make Many Disciples
We had picked this guy and his friends up from one bar and were taking them to another. I was sitting next to him when he reached into his pocket and pulled out the tract to read.
“Do you understand what you are reading?” I asked him, hoping to share the gospel with him.
“How can I? Can you explain it?” he replied.
I went over the tract with him and asked if he wanted to believe in Jesus. He had questions, we talked, and then we arrived at the bar. He got out. I don’t know what happened to him.
I was a college student participating in Beach Reach, an intense time of evangelism where Christian college students go to the places college students go on Spring Break. Only instead of partying and drinking, we prayed, handed out tracts, offered free pancakes in the mornings, and drove a free “taxi” service at night to students in varying states of sobriety.
The guy in the van’s unknown fate used to bother me until I looked at how God was working in his life. This guy had a chain of events that had drawn him into my life and out of it. Surely he had more links in the chain.
I am even more reassured as I realized why the whole exchange with him seemed so familiar. It was like Acts 8:26-40 (my paraphrase):
God spoke to Philip, a disciple of Jesus, and told him to go to a certain road. No reason why. No purpose given. Philip obeyed.
There he saw an Ethiopian eunuch who served the queen riding in his chariot and reading the book of Isaiah. God told Philip to go over to him.
Philip did and he asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
The eunuch replied, “How can I unless someone guides me?”
Philip sat with him and explained the Scriptures and the good news of Jesus. The Ethiopian eunuch saw some water and asked to be baptized. As soon as he was up out of the water, Philip was snatched away and found himself in a different city. The eunuch went on his way rejoicing for his new found faith.
The story in Padre and of Philip so parallel each other at points you’d think I was making up my own experience. God had me go to South Padre that year. The young man was reading a tract. God had me sit next to him and speak with him clarifying the gospel. I pray that God had others in line to bring him to faith and baptize him.
This links in a chain metaphor, it’s almost cliche.
But when I look back on that spring break, I see that us Beach Reachers had it right in a way that I don’t anymore.
- We went where the people already were. You don’t have to raise support and run to another country to do this. You can simply walk into the coffee shop you always stop into or take the kids to the park in your neighborhood.
- We served them in what they were already doing. Driving students to and from bars may seem like an odd choice for sharing the gospel, even a bit surprising for a bunch of Southern Baptist kids. But, it was a need and it was effective, especially when done out of love.
- Each person did one thing with the people they came into contact with. Some handed out tracts. Some prayed. Some drove. Some sat by the door of the van that was used for a taxi and made sure to open it in time if someone had to throw up (don’t ask me how I know this but yes, I did hold back a few girl’s hair for them. Ew, gross!). There were just so many of us doing one thing that the impact was great.
What would it be like if we were all doing the same?
I’m rarely looking for how I can be a link in a chain for someone reaching to God, but with the number of Christians that exist in this world, we could make such an impact if we were doing one thing to share our faith. Living on mission isn’t just for special trips and times. We can live missionally right where we are, and we should.
Where ever you are. Speak to that person. See where it takes us.
What’s your one thing this week?