Written by: Joe Sherrieb, Finance Manager
Do you go to the store for groceries? Do you go to a sporting event for entertainment? Do you go to the bank for money?
Several months ago, I walked into the bank to make a deposit. I was greeted by a smiley bank teller full of enthusiasm as she assisted me with the transaction. I make deposits weekly, but I didn’t recognize her. Knowing that I only had a couple minutes for conversation (if that), I asked how long Leona had been working at the bank. After a minute of small talk, I had time to ask one more question. Think Joe. What do you want to ask her?
“So Leona, one thing I like to ask people who I come across is what they like to read. Do you like reading? If so, what book would you recommend?”
Leona smiled and was quick to suggest her favorite book. After practically exclaiming that her favorite book was “A Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews, she went on to give a quick summary of its plot. I told her I would buy the book from Amazon, start reading it, and follow up with her about it the next couple weeks. She answered, “Well next week is my last week here so you’ll need to read it quickly.” So after I left and got back into my car, I ordered the book and received it within a couple days. Thanks Amazon Prime! I read just enough to have a conversation about it with Leona on her last day.
The next week, I came back to the bank with my deposit and a dialog I had scripted out in my head beforehand. When it was my turn to come up to the counter, I immediately started talking about the book. She was shocked that I bought it, and was thrilled to talk about it. The conversation of the book’s contents led us into a great discussion about philosophy and the meaning of life. This is when I found out something very important about her. Leona is a minister at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Awesome, I have a segway! We talked about that for a while and about my vocation at Gateway Church. As we were wrapping up our conversation, I knew it was unlikely that I’d ever run into her again, so I had to ask one more question. “Is there someone from the Kingdom Hall that would be willing to sit down with me to have a discussion about the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses and compare them with the Christian faith?” She told me she could take my information down and have her husband reach out to me to set up a time to meet.
A few days later, I received a text from Leona’s husband, Josiah. He introduced himself and asked what topics I’d like to discuss and we set a date and time to meet up. The next week, we met at We Serve Coffee and had a great discussion about the theology of the Trinity. We both presented our views and studied Scripture together to find out what God was telling us in his Word. He used Jehovah’s Witnesses' translation of the Bible called the New World Translation and I used the English Standard Version (ESV). We both asked each other challenging questions, but I was pleased to leave him with some questions he would need to answer. Questions that would ultimately challenge his worldview and the validity of his Bible’s translation. I’ve since invited him and his wife to meet up with me and Lauren to get to know each other better and to pour into them. We will see what the future holds.
I bring all this back to my original questions. Do you go to the store for groceries? Do you go to a sporting event for entertainment? Do you go to the bank for money?
Or do you go to the store, a sporting event, or the bank to share the love of Christ with people out of love for them?
My encouragement for you all is to make your main mission to care for and share the truth of the Gospel with everyone, no matter where you are or what you're doing. Go to the grocery store to offer a shopping cart to someone walking behind you to grab one. Make small talk if you can, and then get some groceries while you’re at it. Go to a sporting event to serve and care for the single mom who has a child playing on the team. Get to know her and invite her to dinner with some other friends from the school, and then be entertained by the game. Go to the bank to care for the things the bank teller cares for, like a book, and find opportunities to share the Gospel with them… or their spouse. God has called us to make disciples who make disciples.
May God be with you to guide and direct your steps and your conversations as you make them.