Am I Ashamed?
Make Your Life Mirror
After eight hours of flying overnight in cramped conditions, the Amsterdam airport provided a welcome respite to stretch my legs and refuel with a strong Cappuccino. Green with envy at the business class travelers and groggy from lack of sleep, I ordered up a mouth-watering plate of eggs stuffed with cheese and bacon, fresh orange juice and much needed caffeine. I snatched a comfy table where my Dad and I could relax for a bit before boarding our next long flight into Dar Es Salaam. This once-in-a-lifetime father-daughter trip had been a couple years in the making and was just beginning to unfold. “Would he love Africa as much as I do?” I wondered. “Would the people of Africa find a home in his heart as they had mine?”
The distinct sound of my Dad whistling a melody interrupted my thoughts. I observed from a distance as he ordered his breakfast from the European cashier he had never met.
“I heard you saying ‘God bless you’ to your other patrons,” my dad commented with optimism. “Are you a Christian?”
“Yes, I am,” the tall, slender, blonde gentleman replied.
“Great! So, you’ve made Jesus your Lord?” my Dad inquired.
“Yes, I have.”
I felt a small, sheepish smile form across my face and I knew. I knew that this conversation, this encounter, was destined to repeat many times over throughout the next two weeks.
My dad sees the world through a single lens – “Do you know Jesus?”
How I wish with integrity that I could tell you that I do as well. Yet if I’m honest, many things blur the lens with which I see my world. Understandable things. Realistic things. Practical things. Things we can all relate to.
Like fatigue. After all, it’s 3 AM my body clock. I’m genuinely fatigued. Too fatigued to notice a cashier’s kind tone and generous spirit. And I feel…ashamed.
Like focus. I’m focused on ordering my breakfast, and what I’m speaking on in Tanzania, and exchanging dollars to Euros. Too focused to focus on the need right in front of me. And I feel…ashamed.
Like fear. I’m worried that people will…will what? Laugh? Scoff? Become agitated with me? My inability to pinpoint any genuine cause for fear makes me feel…ashamed.
Like faith. After all, maybe this peppy cashier doesn’t want to discuss faith over strawberries and omelets with weary travelers waiting in line to place their order. Isn’t faith, you know, a personal thing? And I feel…ashamed.
And repeat it does – this conversation, this gentle probing, this sincere interest – across 3 continents and in any possible setting. My dad’s question – “Do you know Jesus?” manages to weave it’s way into more conversations than I can count. Over and over, he whistles and he witnesses. Whistles and witnesses. It seems nothing can take his whistle and nothing can deter his witness.
With a Muslim guide in a National Park
With a waitress named “Neema” in our Dar Hotel, explaining the meaning of her name, “Grace”
With passengers on planes
With the front desk staff of hotels
With vendors in the market
With people in a village
With students at a school
With airline attendants in Paris
And you know what? The Muslim guide asked for a Swahili Bible. And the waitress Neema came to church in Dar. And who knows what other seeds were sown this side of eternity.
A verse began to ruminate in my spirit throughout these two weeks with my Dad, Romans 1:16:
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone that believes.”
There it is. I am not ashamed. Why? Because the Gospel brings the power to save souls, change lives, and alter eternal destinies. I heard Judah Smith say it this way, “I wonder if the Gospel would work best if we let the Gospel do its work.”
And I have to ask myself, “Am I ashamed of the Gospel?” If you asked me, of course I would boldly reply, “No way!” But the realities of life – fatigue, focus, fear, and faith…demand I stop and reflect honestly on the question. Paul declares he is not ashamed in Rome, the center of the known world, with plenty of reasons to fear. Yet from the prison cell to the palace guard, he shares the Gospel. He understands a simple truth – no matter who we are, no matter what continent, no matter our social status, no matter what, we are all in need of one thing: salvation.
The Gospel is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone that believes. No sin is too great. No pit is too deep. No mountain of doubt is too tall. God is willing to save – it’s His promise. Am I willing to witness? Can I trust His promises – that He is always with me, that He will open doors and provide divine opportunities, and that He will honor His Word? Can He trust me to commit to weaving those four little words into my conversations, “Do you know Jesus?”
If I’m going to be fatigued, let it be that I have worn myself out sharing the Gospel.
If I’m going to be focused, let me be focused on the person right in front of me that may die without the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
If I’m going to fear, may I fear missing a chance to demonstrate the love of Jesus through the Gospel.
If I’m going to be a person of faith, may I truly believe the Gospel has power.
I can’t whistle, not even a little bit. But I can witness. And I can wonder. “I wonder if the Gospel would work best if I let the Gospel do its work.”
I’m trusting God with you, my friend, that He will not only open up doors of opportunity, but open up our hearts and mouths to share the Gospel. Let’s allow God to “Make Our Life Mirror” His Word and trust God to do amazing things through us.
Make Your Life Matter No Matter What
Leave me a comment! Who needs to hear you “whistling and witnessing” this week?