The clacking train wheels closed the distance from Amsterdam to my home. I looked out at the level green landscape. A small village appeared in the distance, and a steeple on a weathered stone church rose from the small cluster of brick homes.
I reviewed our evangelistic outreach of the previous day. My mind recalled the encounter my friend and I had with a young man. By his appearance and demeanor, I gauged he likely was an Israeli serving as security in the area near a Jewish religious school.
I asked, in his native Hebrew language, if he wanted a free gift – a Hebrew New Testament. Surprise mixed with caution flooded his face.
My surmise of his occupation proved correct. His trained eyes carefully focused on my right hand as I reached deep into my shoulder bag to retrieve the gift for him. He extended his to receive it.
Did that really accomplish anything? I pondered from my train seat. I only handed him a small Bible in his language. No significant conversation resulted. He just got a smile from a stranger, along with a book he hadn’t asked for.
Over many years I’ve had similar encounters with people from numerous cultures in an assortment of countries. Sometimes doubts seep in as to the effectiveness of such random and often quick exchanges. Once again, those pinpricks of ambivalence poked my conscious thoughts as the Netherlands’ beautiful scenery swept by.
A week or so later, I was walking beside a still canal running through our city when suddenly “Morris” came to mind. Years earlier, just before a service in which I was to speak, the pastor introduced me to Morris. A twenty-something fellow-believer in Jesus, he also would be given time to share about God’s call on his life as an Israeli believer.
From the platform I enthusiastically shared the things the Lord had been allowing me to do: evangelistic conversations, teaching, and distribution of gospel literature. I shortened my presentation to give time for everyone to hear from Morris.
Our Israeli brother smiled as he took the podium.
“Jeff, I want to thank you for what you are doing. God used someone just like you to open my eyes and eventually I came to faith in Yeshua as Messiah.
“My faith journey started three years ago in Jerusalem when a man I’d never seen before pressed a book into my hand as he walked past. God used that book about Yeshua as the first step in the journey that brought me to faith in Him as my Messiah!”
I was reminded anew: God often uses us despite our sometimes clumsy and bungling efforts to accomplish His purposes. Our acts of obedience make a difference when God and faith are involved!
Do you need to be encouraged to take a step of obedience today, or want to know what Morris found that brought him to faith in the Jewish Messiah? Check out www.insearchofshalom.com to learn more.