“He also said, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how’” (Mark 4:26-27, NIV 1984).
Zach was a veteran of the Korean Conflict, 80 years old but looking like 50. He was in the exam room speaking of another patient who had been witnessing for Christ in the waiting room.
“I learned better when I was a boy back in McNairy County. I got down on my knees under an oak tree and got things straight.”
He then added a war story.
“When I was in Korea, there was a man who bragged he was an atheist. That man said to me, ‘I hear you are a praying man. I don’t see you praying now.’
I just told him that I had got my praying done and I was doing my job here now. He laughed at me. Well, I got injured and was sent home. Sometime later I got a letter from that man. He said he had thought a lot about what I said. He wrote that he had gone to bed the night before and when he woke up, he got things straight.”
I’m not quite sure what that one soldier said to the other that forever changed an atheist’s eternal destiny. It certainly wasn’t a theological discourse. It certainly wasn’t well received at the time. It was just one man speaking to another about his faith in a natural response that asked for authenticity.
I haven’t yet figured out how God uses our words and actions to bring folks to Him. When I do, I’ll let you know.
My best bet is that the work of witness is something like the complement system in biology. Someone I know is traveling through life, lost to the Creator. Someone speaks a word faith and a molecule of truth sticks to his armor. I speak a word and another molecule sticks. An event slaps up against him and another molecule attaches. With an accumulation of those faith molecules, a small hole develops in that armor and God’s Spirit seeps in. Enough molecules and enough holes and the armor shatters, leaving the lost one open before a God he cannot deny.
None of us can know the part our lives play in the summation of words and events that bring someone to the Lord. Our task, just like this Korean veteran, is to speak the truth in love, to be authentic as Christians with word and deed and then let God’s Spirit seep through as He wills to shatter the armor and bring the lost one home.
I know someone who needs you. Help me to be authentic and let your Spirit do its great work.