Last night Michelle kindly asked if I could run to Walmart and pick up the nectarines and bananas she didn't make it home with. I "acted" like a sacrificial husband about as good as Jackie Chan acts in any movie. Truth is, I rode to Walmart aware of how I just blew an easy opportunity to lay my life down for my wife. I was also aware that I'd probably be missing an opportunity to invite someone to church because I didn't have my NT with any invites/booklets.
I thought, "okay, so what do you do if you don't have an invite?" The thought crossed my mind, "well, homeboy, maybe you just trust the Lord and ask him to tell you what to say to someone." Whoa. I've seen prophetic people in action and I wouldn't consider that my gift. However, I also believe that God pours this gift out on the church broadly for the purpose of witness (Acts 2:14-41). I thought, "why not go ahead and trust the Lord and ask him?" The worst that could happen is I look like an idiot--which given my interaction with my wife would simply be expanding the audience.
Since I'm no spiritual slouch--the first thing I did walking in to the store was repent for my attitude. In case you're wondering--it's difficult to call upon the Lord when you're angry. Done.
When I got inside I went to customer service and was told by the sales clerk it was okay to get my fruit and return to her. Super. I got my fruit and while I was bagging it up--I asked the Lord if there would be anything I could share with her.
I thought one thing and just as quickly recoiled, "no you're just making that up." Then another thought ended up being "no. that's not the Lord." I did this for a while before I asked what she may be burdened by. The thought crossed my mind that she was burdened for someone in her family. The more I thought about it I wondered if it was a sister. Staring at the marinade I prayed really hard one last time. "Lord, I'm willing to share this, but I don't want to get this wrong--please help me in this." It was about that glamorous.
I got back in line at customer service and approached the clerk. As she was writing my information down we exchanged a few lines and I decided to go for broke and throw it out there.
"You wouldn't have a concern for a family member right now would you?" [gulp]
She stopped what she was doing and stared at the paper. I couldn't tell if my impression jarred her or if she was mentally reviewing her Walmart safety manual under "handling freaks". Still writing she said,
"Yes...I have a family." I was aware that any human being on the planet could say yes to that question. I was also aware that outside of thinking it may be a sister it was all I had--and couldn't help but wondering if it was right.
"Well...I was just praying when I got the fruit and had that thought cross my mind. I felt the Lord wanted to communicate his concern and love for whoever you're concerned about." She nodded like she was trying to process it all.
Feeling unusually bold and really pressing in I said, "is it a sister?" [double gulp]
With the same look that I couldn't quite figure out she responded, "....I have 6 sisters." [score...I thought better than "uhh...I'm an only child"].
I told her I was a pastor in a church and hope that my thoughts didn't freak her out and wished her a goodnight. I walked out thinking either I was right on and I could have asked her some more questions, or I was way off. Either way I felt that I'd acted in faith and that pleased the Lord (Rom 14:23).
I'm learning that living by faith is messy. Like anything, evangelism is not about getting to a place where you have no more fear--it's about growing out of love with not looking like a fool. I don't care how cool you dress--how culturally relevant--how missional--nobody gets away with attempts at exalting Jesus with their image intact (John 3:30).
In the end, the Lord would make us His ambassadors through varied gifts and experiences (2 Cor. 5:20). May we put our pride to death and let Him speak through us. I believe He will do it.