The Bolder Kindness of the Gospel

There are times when our hearts are Weeping in the Passing Lane, having lost cherished relationships, fruitful careers and ministries – when we suffer the loss of how life used to be.  But in Christ, loss and suffering are never wasted but are often a painful avenue to another level of faith.  (I think this is only believable when you’re exiting the fiery furnace!)

As a State Parole Officer, I loved the ongoing opportunities to share the Gospel with felons, inmates, families in the communities and other officers.  When everything in my life was practically perfect, the Potter saw fit to squash the lump of clay and painfully remold the design.  While life may be stripped of venues, relationships, and resources, God still owns us and “gives us the desires of our heart” – in other words, He installs desires within us. 

The desire to share the Gospel, the burden to be a useful vessel in His Kingdom, still captures my heart.  While fervently praying for God to “send me”, “open doors”, and avail a ‘call’, the Lord showed me opportunities missed, even in one day, on my way downtown to the WTC Occulus…

Almost every train in NYC leads to the ‘Occulus’ – a humungous architectural design to commemorate the World Trade Center, housing upscale stores, restaurants, and waterfront sites.  Although a New Yorker, I had never been there and now, meeting a friend, I must have seemed lost to the concierge there.

“Can I help you?  You seem lost…”  Well, I wasn’t lost but her friendly overture engaged us as I waited for my friend.  Jolene* shared about being a concierge, how she came from Africa, and later, when my friend saw us, the three of us enjoyed a friendly chat.  Before heading for lunch I invited Jolene to visit our church but I knew in my heart, that’s not the same as sharing the Gospel…. 

After a lovely lunch and stroll by the waterfront, I headed back to the subway.  While adding money to my Metrocard, an elderly tourist couple approached me, “Could you please help us?”  Of course!  There’s such pleasure in helping the elderly and tourists!  After friendly overtures, I said, “There’s no need to figure out this machine.  Here, take my Metrocard.  It will take you to your destination…” I gave them some travel tips and said good bye to this grateful couple.  But as they walked away, hand in hand, I was so happy to show kindness but knew in my heart,  that’s not the same as sharing the Gospel….  

I proceeded to the A train and found as I boarded the only seat left – next to a woman with two Chihuahua puppies.  “I got the best seat!” I said as I sat.  This immediately engaged the woman and she happily shared the story of her pet life and puppies. The same age range as me, Vivian* shared some life struggles as well.  I surmised that the many tattoos on her arms were of various cultural witchcraft symbols especially when I asked, “What are the puppies’ names?”  “Oh,” she replied, “this one is Voodoo…”  We were both going all the way north Manhattan but my stop was before hers.  “Thank you for sharing your stories, I wish you the best with your pups!”  It was so nice talking to Vivian, but I knew in my heart, that’s not the same as sharing the Gospel….

Maybe there’s something of value in ‘relationship Gospel’, sharing God’s truth after building relationships or friendships but I don’t see that much in the Bible.  But this, however, exhorts my heart:   “Make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.”

I  truly believe that God moves His Body around, sovereignly ordains meetings, ‘coincidences’, and prepares hearts in unseen ways.  One word can make a mark in a soul that the Lord is calling.

The Lord is stirring my heart toward the venue of the world, however small the piece before me!  I am praying for a greater boldness with ‘strangers’ –  knowing that even a word that we share may be an answer to someone’s prayers.  To launch this boldness, I pray, Lord,  for a deeper burden and love for the souls before me.

subway moving

While I hate to miss a train, may the opportunity to share the Gospel not pass me by….

Kindness is good, but I pray for the fruit bearing kindness of sharing the Gospel truth.

 

28 thoughts on “The Bolder Kindness of the Gospel

  1. Dear Lisa Beth, you are a blessing to this old heart. You are out “there” meeting those in need of Life. We share the same heart of Christ in our desire to share His good news and the Life He gives. I will intercede for you praying that He will answer your prayer for hearts that are looking for what you have to give. He opens the doors and fills our mouths as we are prepared to share HIs kindness and goodness. Blessings and more blessings as you walk with HIm through this “wildermess.”

    • Thank you so much sister, I so appreciate your prayers! I believe there’ll be posts following showing God’s faithfulness. May the Lord continue to bless and inspire you Frances! 🌷

  2. When those opportunities arise I offer them a Bible tract in the form of a small booklet (2” x 2 1/2”) that contains mostly Scripture. I call it “the little red Bible”. Most take one, and it seems that people don’t throw these out. I’ve been told so more than once. The print is pretty large for something so small and I wouldn’t hesitate to give one an elderly person.

    I give the one with the red cover (as seen in link below) that says “Personal Bible Verses of Comfort Assurance Salvation” both In English and Spanish. I’ve never ordered from this particular ministry but when I run out I will.

    Blessings…

    • Dear Cathy, thank you so much for your visit and beautiful suggestion. I have seen these before, it’s a wonderful idea to have something like this ready to give someone. I will look into these and pray about other small tracts or handouts. Thank you again dear sister!

  3. Dear Lisa Beth,
    I always love what you write. I especially enjoyed this:
    “I truly believe that God moves His Body around, sovereignly ordains meetings, ‘coincidences’, and prepares hearts in unseen ways. One word can make a mark in a soul that the Lord is calling.”
    I completely agree! And I pray to share kind words and help people I encounter each day.
    As I read your story I could imagine you shining God’s light in those subway stations. What a blessing you are!

  4. My heart leaps when I find ‘The Burning Lamp’ pop up in my inbox – I really value what your words.
    – This is another wonderful story (made even better by the fact it’s true!)
    You really help me reflect on my own life, and the nudges that God gives…
    Thank you Lisa Beth 🙂

    • Thank you so much sister, for uplifting and refreshing my heart! May the Lord open our eyes daily to possible eternal value in ordinary encounters. God bless you! 🌷

  5. Thank you, Lisa Beth. Yes, amidst all of the other responsibilities and pleasurable pursuits that tug at us in the course of each day, sharing/spreading the Gospel is our #1 mission. Everything else fades in comparison.

      • Thanks, Lisa Beth, and God bless you, too!

        p.s. I enjoyed the three leaves. Let’s see, in about 4 weeks I’ll be ankle-deep in them!

  6. I say, “Amen” to your prayer.

    We’re empowered by the Father to do what ought to be in spite of location.

    There’s nothing compared to sharing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Thanks for sharing, Ma’am.

  7. Excellent post, Lisa. I pray for opportunities to share the Gospel with others through email, my blog and in person. Hospice has volunteers who come and sit with me some Saturdays so Mary can run errands. The young lady who has been sitting with me is named Amelia. She’s a kind and helpful 30-year-old who moved here from the Bronx. I have been looking for opportunities to share the Gospel with her.
    Knowing the time is short and the days are evil, we must be intentional about sharing the good news.

    • So good to hear from you Bill! Wow, I believe by Gods design, Amelia came from the Bronx to hear the Gospel – may the lord prepare her heart.
      Thank you brother for encouraging fellowship. Warm regards to lovely Mary!

    • I don’t see a “like” button here, but I am excited to read about your opportunity to share the gospel with Amelia! Bill, just the way you are living your life is such a testimony, I have a feeling when it gets right down to the gospel message itself, her heart will be ripe for the harvest. 😉

  8. Pingback: Taking as many opportunities as possible to proclaim the Good News – Belgian Ecclesia Brussel – Leuven

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