When the Lord brings unsaved people into our lives, it is sometimes difficult to know when is the right time to share the gospel. This is when we must be prayerfully sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s direction. At times, it seems the Lord asks us to wait, patiently attuned to his timing. This is what the Martins* learned as they desired to minister to their new neighbours.
Bob* remembers clearly when Jessica and Chris moved in across the street a few years ago. The young couple had invited their friends and new neighbours to an open house. Bob and his wife, Martha, who view every relationship as a potential for blessing others with Christ, saw this occasion as a good opportunity to establish a relationship with these newcomers to their community.
With a jar of pickles and a few other goodies in hand, they headed across the street. Once there, they realized they were the only invited ones who had come. The fact that they simply showed up, when others didn’t, was the beginning of a good neighbourly relationship.
As time went on, Jessica felt free to pop over to borrow a cup of sugar or ask a question about the town. Her boys, Sean* and Seth*, likewise felt right at home.
A couple of years went by. Then, Bob had an opportunity to give Jessica the book By This Name. She accepted it, but only after she had expressed a wariness about Christians. A bad experience had caused her to reject Christianity as a youth and she had not changed her mind.
Bob and Martha took seriously Jessica’s poor regard of Christians. While they felt a great urgency to share the gospel with this young mother, they also sensed that the Lord wanted them to wait: wait for Jessica’s heart to soften; wait for the Lord to prepare her to hear the truth. So they obeyed and they waited.
In their waiting, they knew they could still be a testimony to Jessica and her family by living with integrity among their neighbours. They decided to allow their lives demonstrate the reality of the gospel before they verbally expressed it.
Two more years slipped by. Then one day, the Martins had a knock on their door. Feeling much at home, Sean ran into the house and jumped up on the couch beside Bob. Little Seth wasn’t far behind with Jessica following, quick to state their purpose.
“Sean has a question for you, Bob.”
“I want to know about God,” the boy went on.
They had been waiting for this time so long that the question almost blind-sided Bob. “That’s such an amazing question, Sean. Why do you want to know?”
Sean didn’t seem to know quite how to respond. So, Jessica spoke for him, “He asked me this question and I had no idea what to say.”
Bob replied gently, “It is a tough question. Let me say this. I probably won’t be able to answer it for you today either. If I try, it won’t make sense because you won’t have the necessary foundations.”
He then went on to explain what he meant, giving an example tailored to the young mind. “When you construct a tall tower with Lego, you need to have a really good foundation, don’t you?” Sean agreed. “The question you’ve asked is one that belongs up here,” Bob gestured. “But before you are ready to build that high, you first need to learn the stuff needed for a strong foundation.” Bob went on to explain that he didn’t want to give a confusing answer. He wanted to provide what was needed for a solid foundation so that Sean could better understand the answer to his question.
He went on to ask, “Would you be willing to wait to get that question answered?”
Bob then turned to Sean’s mom, “Jessica, I have a book I would like to give you.”
He handed her The Lamb and encouraged her to read it to her boys. In that way she could be involved in helping Sean learn the answer to his question. “He’s at an age where he’s curious and wants to know more. It would be good to feed that curiosity and not stymie it.”
Bob also invited Jessica to bring her boys to a Bible club for kids. She was interested and open to considering all of his suggestions.
A week later, Bob and Martha heard back from Jessica. “We really enjoyed reading The Lamb! The artwork is just phenomenal!” She also mentioned that when the boys’ grandparents came to babysit, they read it through with Sean and Seth again. They also thought it was a great book.
The Martins are encouraging Jessica to consider attending an adult study of By This Name in the New Year. In the meantime, she has begun bringing her boys to the Bible club.
Please be praying that the Lord will continue to work in Jessica’s heart. Pray that her husband will also become interested in learning the answer to the question, “Who is God?” that had such a great impact on his family.
(* All names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)