Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
by: Pastor Lars Janssen
Have you ever had an industrious young person, maybe 10 or 12 years old, knock on your door and ask if you would pay him to shovel your driveway? This tends to happen once or twice a winter in my neighbourhood. I usually give a polite, “No thank you,” but my answer has more to do with myself than the young entrepreneur. I think it’s great that the person at the door is willing to work to earn some money. But, by God’s grace, I am able-bodied and, as a result of many hours of study, I am generally in need of exercise—especially in the winter. However, a slightly different scenario confronted me during one of our recent snowy days.
It had snowed all night and I knew that I’d have to get out there and shovel soon when there was a knock at the door. The man who asked to shovel my driveway for a small fee was older than I am. I paused for a moment and reflected. If a man this age was out trying to earn some money shoveling driveways, he probably really needed some money. So this time I said, “Yes.” He seemed pleased and got right to work shoveling. I turned to my wife and told her what had just happened. We were both a little unsure about what to do next—should I go out and help him? Would that diminish his sense of having earned any money I gave him? As I finished up what I had been doing, I began silently asking God what to do when I remembered a conversation I’d had with the other pastors.
We had discussed how to provide our church family with opportunities to practice having gospel conversations with those who need to hear about Jesus. We aren’t talking about presenting a mini-sermon. We’re talking about what Jesus instructed the former-demoniac to do in Mark 5:19, “Tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” As you may have heard during our mission’s emphasis Sunday, in the coming months we’re planning to invite you, our church family, to take some tracts in hand and intentionally practice this—either in your own sphere or together around the church building’s neighbourhood.
As I thought of that conversation with the pastors, I realized that God had prepared a good work (see Ephesians 2:10!) for me to do by having this man come to my door. I needed to get out there and start shoveling with him. I did and we talked as we shoveled. It’s worth noting that I later found out he’d walked three blocks from his home and my door was the first door he knocked on! As we shoveled, he unexpectedly poured out his heart to me and I even had the opportunity to pray for him. I tried to be generous with him when I paid him for his time with bills wrapped in a tract (Please, always try to be generous Christians!). I don’t know what God is doing in that man’s life, but I am glad that I was able to share how God has had mercy on me and that the same mercy is available to him.
I challenge you, my friends, to start asking God to open your eyes to gospel-conversation opportunities. You don’t have to present a perfectly rounded package of theology in each conversation—just tell someone something about how much the Lord has done for you.