A few years ago, my doctor sent me for a radiological CAT scan. I had the procedure and the attending nurse told me to drink water as soon as possible to flush the radioactive dye out of my system. As I was walking across the foyer to leave I saw a young man loading up a water vending machine. I went over and asked him if I could buy a bottle. I bought the bottle and headed for the door. About half way to the door this thought came very clearly to my mind. “Go back and tell him about Me.”
I assumed this thought was from the Lord and to my shame I said, “No, I don’t want to do that.” I continued to walk to the door and when I went to open the door the thought came again, “Go back and tell him about Me.” Again, I said I didn’t want to. [I know; I am not much of a Christian]. I walked outside and when I got to the curb to cross the street the thought came again.
This time I paused and said to the Lord, “Every day I start the day with prayer and I tell you that my life belongs to You and so I will do whatever You ask me to do. Then as soon as You ask me to do something embarrassing or inconvenient, I say “no.” OK, I will go back and tell him about You, but it is not an easy conversation to start, give me some help here. How am I going to start the conversation?” The answering thought that came to my mind was, “Go back and ask him if in the last 10 days he has been wondering how he can come to know God.”
That seemed easy enough so I went back and said, “Remember me, I just bought a water from you?” He said, “Yes” [of course he said yes]. I said, “I know this sounds kind of crazy, but I am a Christian and sometimes God communicates something to me for someone else. I believe He just asked me to ask you a question. Are you OK with that?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “God told me to ask you if in the last 10 days or so you have been wondering how you can come to know God.” He said, “Yes I have!” I said, “Do you want to know how you can know God today?” He said, “Yes!” I explained the Gospel to him and led him to the Lord.
I don’t know why I said this, but then I said to him, “You know; God wants to know you much more than you want to know Him.” He reacted with a look of real surprise and said, “About 10 days ago this old man came up to me at the market and said, “Young man God wants to know you” and then he walked off. Then a few days later at the same market this old lady came up to me and said, “God says you are not to leave your wife” and then she walked away.”
I asked him if he was planning on leaving his wife and he said yes, he was, but not NOW after this experience. I gave him good counsel as to how to find a Christ-centered church and how to buy a good Bible and the need to be part of a small group. I prayed for him and left.
Needless to say, I was full of joy as I drove home.
There is no joy like knowing you are in cahoots with the Creator of the universe.
As I was driving home, I thought about the old man and old woman who encountered the young man at the market. I imagined them showing up at their church small groups after talking to the young man at the market.
The group leader asks if anyone has a praise report and
the old man says, “Yesterday at the market I felt like the lord wanted me to tell this young man that He wants to know him.”
The group leader says, “Well, what did he do after you explained the Gospel to him.”
The old man says, “I didn’t explain it to him, I just told him what I thought God said to me.” The group leader looks at the old man with disappointed eyes…
The same thing happens to the old lady at her women’s group. Same look of disappointment. Neither of them “closed the deal.” And this is the way we often look at evangelism; it’s all about the close. But look at what happened here. Two people risk speaking a message from God to a total stranger. They speak only what they believe they heard from God.
They have no program in mind, merely speaking what they think God is saying.
When I come along, this young man has already had two subtle brushes with the supernatural. Neither one gives him enough information to come to belief in Jesus, but when I come along and speak to him about God’s desire to know him, his prior experiences fall into place and he comes to belief. All three of our words were appropriate [prophetic] to this young man’s spiritual state and taken together they make it crystal clear that God is seeking a relationship with him. I doubt he will ever forget how he came to know Jesus.
Questions for discussion: Let’s talk about this…
- Have you ever had a thought come to your mind that you thought might be God? What did you do with it?
- Would you be willing to look foolish if there was a chance our random thought might be from God?
- What is the consequence to your Christian life if you don’t take the risk?
- What might be the consequence if you do take the risk?
- The old man and old lady both trusted God to bring the young man to salvation without them adding to the words He gave them for the young man. Were they right to do that? If so, what does this teach us about the salvation process?
- Have you ever had thoughts that might be from God for someone? What did you do with them? What would you do differently after reading this story?