It was a sunny, 70-degree February morning in my new California neighborhood. I was tagging along behind our ever-pulling Husky when I saw them. An older couple, silver hair gleaming in the mid-morning sun, wearing church clothes in the park. The woman smiled and made a beeline for me, her companion trailed her. “Good morning,” I smiled and tried to keep walking. I knew what they wanted.
“Good morning. Do you believe in God?” The woman held out a pamphlet.
“Oh… yes…” I reined in the dog and prepared to make excuses.
A few days earlier, two young men had accosted me while I pruned roses in our yard, and I had pretended to receive a cell phone call 20-minutes into our seemingly endless, one-sided conversation. It was just too early in the morning to go through that again.
“The Bible says that the world’s suffering will end soon. Isn’t that good news?” The woman looked genuinely thrilled. She continued, “All we have to do is love God and He will save us. This booklet will tell you all about it. Have a nice day.” She handed me the paper, smiled at her partner and they meandered on their way.
I Expected the Worst
I was slightly embarrassed as I carried the tract through town on the rest of my walk. I had expected the worst from this frail little couple, but instead of criticism, they offered life.
Besides, what had I done for God lately? I was so busy setting up a new house, job searching, tidying my overgrown garden and making meals, I had no time for dressing up and handing out pamphlets to strangers in the park.
Boldly witnessing to people I don’t know isn’t something I’m good at. But there are lots of other things I can do. A house down the street could use painting and yard work. There’s a homeless shelter not too far from where I live, and a soup kitchen several blocks away that serves meals on weekends. I could tutor English learners or teach adults to read at the library or walk dogs at the local shelter.
Jesus commanded us to take the good news we know to all the earth. What have I done to make that a reality? What could I do? The answer is easier than I sometimes want it to be. The actions that make the greatest difference aren’t always the hard ones. Being kind to the slow cashier at the grocery store, giving a child a quarter for a pack of gum, smiling at the lonely teenager at the bus stop, all of these things speak volumes. Christ knew His time on earth was limited, but he never shied from spending what few hours he had helping others find happiness—and eternal life. Even in his last minutes, he gave his attention to the thief on the cross next to him and offered him forever.
Maybe I could offer a few minutes of my time to share with others the news the elderly couple shared with me—all we have to do is love God and He will save us. It’s just that simple.