Editor’s note: We often meet new people when we travel. Opportunities to share the good news abound when on a flight or on a bus. One of our staff members relates a recent incident on being ready to share at a moment’s notice.
As a frequent flyer in economy class, I’ve noticed how the close seating arrangement gives passengers freedom to converse about deeply personal subjects. It happened again recently.
I found myself jammed beside a man and woman each in their 30s. Karin,* a married mother of a six-year old daughter was on a business trip. Tyler* was a science major who worked in the medical field servicing imaging equipment.
When it was my turn to tell what I did for a living, I explained that I worked in the field of education, researching and developing materials for students that know little or nothing about the Bible. I braced myself for a quick change of subject but was pleasantly surprised when both my listeners wanted to know more.
Tyler said he wanted to be married—he desired a wife who would share his “worldview.” But he was stuck. He confessed, “I don’t know what to believe. I don’t have answers. How can I can find someone who thinks the same way? And I want to have kids. But I don’t know how I would answer their questions or what I would teach them. “
At this point, Tyler turned to Karin and asked, “Like, how do you answer your daughter’s questions? What do you tell her?”
Karin replied, “I can’t. I’m like you. I don’t have answers. My daughter recently asked me why Grandma died and I couldn’t tell her. I didn’t know what to say!”
Here I was, wedged between two intelligent people who wanted answers to the big questions about life and death. We would be starting our descent in 20 minutes. Where should I begin? I breathed a silent prayer for wisdom. Postmodernism, coupled with biblical illiteracy, has left intelligent people like Tyler and Karin groping for answers in a world that makes no sense. But the answers they desperately needed would require some biblical background, some context. If I assumed too much I risked adding to their confusion. Worse, in my zeal to share the gospel, I could create a wrong perception about God, one I too would reject if I were in their shoes.
So instead of jumping into a presentation of Jesus Christ, I presented Tyler and Karin each with a copy of the book, By This Name. In the remaining minutes before our descent, I explained how the book provided an objective outline of the biblical worldview—one that looked at life from the viewpoint of the Creator of life.
Karin immediately began thumbing through the book. Then she held it close to her chest and thanked me profusely, saying, “This is just what I’ve been looking for.” Tyler was equally grateful exclaiming, “I don’t think our sitting together was accidental.”
Having the right tools on hand, has helped me time and again to give, “…an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15
[*Names changed as per GoodSeed policy.]