You know what’s even more frustrating than that moment when you have a golden opportunity to share your faith and you bottle it? That moment when you take the opportunity to share your faith, start well, but fall down in your last twenty metres of track, and end up face down still holding the baton of truth, which you failed to pass on.
I literally had a bible in my hands to give him as I let him walk away.
You see, me and a couple of my mates were all taking different trains that day. Trains full of people who don’t like to talk or make eye contact, but for all we knew could have never heard the good news about Jesus. So we dared each other to be bold, to bite the awkward bullet, and to strike up conversation with those around us, with the hope of being able to share something of God’s love for them.
Dangerously, we prayed for opportunities to help us break the ice… so it shouldn’t have taken me by surprise at all that the fella I ended up sat next to was reading a book called ‘The Left Hand of God’. No excuses Miriam.
I asked him what was he reading, and as I had been reading a little red Gideon’s Bible which I’d brought on the journey with the intention of giving it away, I thought perhaps he would ask the same. He didn’t. However, we got into a big discussion about the state of the fantasy-book genre, and thanks to going out with Alex, fantasy fan, I actually had quite a lot to respond with!
I talked about Alex’s love for fantasy writing, and his job with CVM, and when the bloke complained about how his book was lacking any epic, world-changing themes, I even managed to chat about how incredible inspiration has been taken from the Bible for fantasy works… cheers Tolkien and Lewis.
And yet I sat there, still clutching my bible, not quite daring to offer my well-read companion the book of life.
I didn’t expect him to get off at the same stop, or turn and walk the other way when he did. He just said “Oh, I’m this way, nice to meet you” and he was off. And did I stop him and say I’d like him to read this book too? Did I jog after him and quickly explain I’d wanted to hand him this, just in case he was interested? No. I said “Oh ok, nice to meet you, bye” and set off the other direction. Still holding my bible.
Now don’t get me wrong, if truth be told I am grateful for the conversation I had and I trust God with any seeds of interest that may have been planted. Perhaps he is even reading this now, if he remembered CVM and googled it. It’s just hard to recognise your own weakness and timidity in an area people label as your “gift”.
The parable of the sower, in Luke chapter 8 verses 1- 11 was stuck in my head the day of the train ride. Particularly, how the farmer sowed his seed generously, despite much of it landing on soil that produced nothing in return. The point was he went for it anyway and spread as much seed as he could regardless. So that was my thought really. Go for it, regardless of the rate of return. Rather talk more of Jesus than less, no matter the reaction. If I hadn’t have gone for it, I’d have never spoken to that guy at all, even if I went home with my bible still in my hands.
Are you catching a train any time soon? Or sitting in a coffee shop for a length of time? Going for a cycle with people? Standing at the side lines of the pitch with others? I dare you to also pray for an icebreaker… look out for your own ‘The Left Hand of God’, and sow generously.