by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… Romans 1:16a NASB
I missed a big opportunity. God handed it to me on a silver platter. Well, to be more accurate, it drove up in a silver pickup truck and stopped right beside me. But I let it get away without a fight. I really blew it.
It happened one beautiful Saturday afternoon. I had just stepped out of a Lifeway store and was headed to my car. Just as I reached the first car in the parking lot I heard, “Ma’am? Excuse me ma’am!”
“Ma’am?” Oh, does he mean me?
I turned to see a young man sitting in a pickup truck, now directly between the store and me. His window was down and he was looking directly at me. And there wasn’t anyone else close by.
Yep. He meant me.
The young “cowboy” wore a sleeveless t-shirt and tattoos covered both arms. He needed directions. “Is there a bookstore around here somewhere?”
I thought about looking around for a hidden camera. I mean, really? He was sitting in front of a bookstore. Surely this was a joke.
“Seriously?” I asked. “Lifeway is right there,” I pointed as I declared the obvious. But I could tell the cowboy had no idea what Lifeway was by the look on his face.
“Uh, it’s a Christian bookstore,” I stammered. Half statement, half question. Still no recognition.
“I’m looking for self-help books,” he added hopefully.
Okay. God threw the door of opportunity wide open, but I slammed it shut.
I stumbled around and told him I didn’t know the area – which I didn’t. That I had a friend waiting in the car – which I did. Then I suggested he try Sam’s, which was close behind us.
By the time I got to the car, I was kicking myself over the lost opportunity. As I began to tell my friend about the encounter, all sorts of better responses began to pop into my head.
There’s a Book in there – I would be pointing at Lifeway – that will give you help that lasts for eternity.
I have a Friend that can help you with anything and everything – of course, that would be Jesus.
Or if nothing else comes to mind, I could always simply ask:
Do you know Jesus?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve quoted or taught or written about Peter’s encouragement to always be ready to share Jesus.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15, NIV)
This guy needed hope. He was actively looking for it. He even asked me where to find it. I know the One who is our ultimate, eternal Hope.
I blew it. But, I’m praying today that God will give me another opportunity. Maybe I’ll head to Lifeway.
About the author: This post is adapted from Kathy Howard’s Bible study. Lavish Grace: Poured Out, Poured Through, and Overflowing. Lavish Grace is a 9-week journey with the apostle Paul that helps readers discover God’s abundant grace for their daily lives and relationships. You can find out more about Kathy, her speaking and writing, and find free resources at www.KathyHoward.org.
Join the conversation: Do you regularly pray that God will give you opportunities to give the reason for the hope you have?