The emphasis for this blog comes from the Elder’s evangelistic vision “to see the Gospel lead every person on mission for the multiplication of disciples.” A facet of this great jewel is to consider cherishing Christ’s work in us as the impetus for reaching others with The Gospel Call. Another way of saying this is: “I want to tell others about Jesus because of what He has done for me.”
Revently, my wife and I were in a Thai restaurant in Cleveland. As we were seated, our table steward welcomed us and took a drink order. I felt adventuresome so I asked him to help me select something different to eat. I cautioned him with my list of dietary can and can’ts. To help him realize I was serious, I jokingly said, “I have to weigh myself in the morning.” He responded, “No problem, I will help you.”
He started by asking about Chinese food that I liked and with which I felt somewhat safe. To help my selection process, he brought out three different sauces and patiently waited for my selection. My wife’s order was simple. My selection required extra service from a man who genuinely wanted to please me. I made a decision; the kitchen wheels began to roll.
As we waited, he strolled among his tables; then, returned to engaged us in conversation. As we talked he shared from his heart. He was a Pilipino who became a naturalized citizen in 2003. His knowledge of the US election process is greater than most people I know. We even learned about his greater citizenship, one with eternal ramifications.
You see as a youth our waiter became a Christian in the Philippines because of the testimony of an American Missionary. The young boy fell in love with the missionary and the Good News the missionary professed– the boy wanted to follow the missionary. In time, the Pilipino came to the US; and, in the present, worships God in an American Church in Akron. Fast-forward to our encounter, the Pilipino stands at our table prepared to share the gospel. His courage astounded me – a real, tangible object lesson. He knew the grace that had been given him and delights in sharing the gospel truth with complete strangers, if they will listen. When we identified ourselves with Christ, he did not miss a beat, the tone of the conversation immediately moved from salvation to heart talk – matching character to testimony. Our Pilipino brother is a disciple-maker, too.
To be candid, I had been in this restaurant before and he previously served me. Until this our dialogue rallied around the calories and saltiness of Thai food, not the gospel. On this occasion, things were different. The Holy Spirit moved in and we had gospel conversation in community. Under the wrong circumstances his job could have been at risk. Yet, due to the work of the Holy Spirit and the common yoke of Christ, all fears were put aside and brethren meet, in uncommon circumstances. Again, why? Because the grace given is so significant that it launches us to share our portion of His Story with others, even total strangers. There is something to be learned here, don’t you agree?
Oh, by the way, my weight was down this morning from the previous day.