Looking at the clock on the dresser in the girls’ room, Grace Reid saw that it was almost time to leave for church. She quickly slipped into her pink sandals and grabbed her purse. Then she scooted downstairs to join the rest of the family, who were also doing last-minute things to be ready to leave.
“Where’s Joe?” she asked. “We don’t want to be late. I want to have plenty of time to visit with Callie.”
As if in answer to her question, Joseph came into the living-room, his Bible tucked under his arm. Now everyone was there and ready to leave.
Once in the van, in the back seat with her two younger siblings, Grace thought about the special service they were having that Friday night. It wasn’t very often they had visiting missionaries at church, and these weren’t just any missionaries. This missionary family was the Wilsons. They had attended the Reids’ church until a couple years before when they had gone to Mexico to be missionaries. Grace had emailed with Callie, the Wilson’s oldest girl and one of her closest friends. But she had not seen her since the farewell service at church.
Grace felt nervous at the thought of seeing Callie. She was still just the same old Grace. But Callie was now a missionary kid, helping her mom teach children’s classes, attending ladies’ Bible studies, helping with the music at outreach services, and a whole lot of other exciting things.
Grace hadn’t had any exciting ministry opportunities. There wasn’t anything big she could do for God.
After Mr. Reid had parked in the church parking lot, Grace climbed out of the van and walked inside with her family. In the foyer, the Wilsons had a table set up with pictures and memorabilia from Mexico and information about the ministry. Beside the table, next to her mom, stood Callie. A big grin spread across her face when she saw Grace. She rushed over and gave her a big hug.
At once, all nervousness disappeared on Grace’s part, as she and Callie chattered away with each other.
Presently, it was time for the service to begin. The Wilsons showed pictures and videos of the work in Mexico and shared stories of their adventures and the work God had been doing in the lives of the people.
There was a picture of the rattlesnake Mr. Wilson had stepped on, getting into his truck one morning. Grace shivered. She was glad they didn’t have to worry about rattlesnakes where they lived. There were pictures of the different interesting foods they had eaten. When the Wilsons showed pictures of their house, Grace was surprised how plain and small it was. But Callie had never sounded discontent in her emails, so she supposed they were happy living with so little.
As she listened to the stories, Grace again felt the desire to do something big for God. If only she could be used in some way to reach the lost as the Wilsons were being used.
After the slideshow and stories, Mr. Wilson preached a short message on missions and evangelism. One part of his message especially stood out to Grace. “Just because you are not on the mission field does not mean there is nothing you can do for God to reach the lost. Even you young people have opportunities to share the Gospel with others.”
Grace pulled out her notebook and began jotting down things he said. He was giving practical ways that each of them could share the Gospel with others, and she didn’t want to forget a single way.
At the close of the message, she had a lot to think about, and she no longer felt discontent that there was nothing she could do for God, because there was.
At the store a few days later, Grace thought about what Mr. Wilson had said. She pulled out a handful of animal tract cards and looked up and down the aisle. Hope was looking at notebooks, and Mrs. Reid had told them to stay together, so she could not go find someone to give a tract to until Hope was ready to move on.
Impatiently waiting, Grace walked up and down the aisle. A pretty binder caught her attention and she opened it up. The plastic sleeve on the inside of the cover seemed to jump out at her, and she almost gasped aloud at the thought it gave her.
She could slip one of her Gospel tracts inside the sleeve, for someone to find later on. Was it really possible to give out a tract without having to talk to someone? She could hardly believe that was an acceptable way of witnessing. Wasn’t it kind of cowardly?
But then she remembered a story her Dad had told, about a man who had gotten saved because someone had tossed a tract through the open window of his car. If leaving a tract for someone to find was a way someone could get saved, then it must surely be an acceptable way to witness. And besides, she didn’t have anyone to give any tracts to at the moment.
Hardly believing that she could distribute tracts without having to talk to someone, Grace looked up and down the aisle for places to leave them. Grace slipped several tracts into some of the various binders and notebooks on the shelves. She slipped a couple into some boxes of envelopes, careful not to damage any packaging. She didn’t want to do anything that could potentially get her in trouble, and she wanted her witnessing tactics to be above reproach.
A lady turned her shopping cart onto the aisle. Behind her, walked a boy and a girl who looked about eight and ten. Grace quickly looked through her purse and pulled out a couple tracts specifically for kids.
With a quick prayer, she walked up to their mother. “Would it be okay if I gave your children these little books? There’s a fun quiz and story in them.”
The mother glanced at the booklet in Grace’s hand. “Sure. Tell her thanks,” she instructed her children.
“Thank you,” they said, taking the booklets. As they left the aisle, they were both looking through them.
“Good job, Grace,” Hope said. “When I saw what you were doing, I started praying. Like Mr. Wilson said, it’s good for one person to pray while the other talks. Next time it’s my turn. I’ll talk while you pray. Are you ready to go find Mom now?”
Hope’s opportunity came at the checkout line. After Mrs. Reid had paid for her purchase, Hope held out a tract to the cashier, a friendly older lady. “Would you like one of these?” she asked with a smile.
The lady took the tract and read the question on the front. “Are you a good person? Well, I guess I’ll have to read it to find out. Thank you!”
The girls followed Mrs. Reid towards the exit, leaving the cashier still looking at the tract.
“I’m going to give one to that man on the bench,” Grace whispered, nodding towards an older man sitting by the door.
“Ok, and I’ll pray,” Hope whispered back.
Grace remembered a line Mr. Wilson had suggested using when giving a tract. He had said, “Ask someone, ‘Did you get one of these?’ It makes them wonder what they’re missing out on.”
Deciding to try it, Grace walked up to the man. “Did you get one of these?” She held out a polar bear tract to him.
The man took it and looked briefly at it. “What is it?” he asked.
For a brief moment, Grace froze, unsure what to say. None of the others had asked about the tracts. They had just taken them and said thank you. She managed to say, “It’s a Gospel tract. It’s got some good news on it.” That was a line she had learned from her dad.
“No, thanks” the man said, holding the card back out to her.
Grace took the card and quickly followed Mrs. Reid and Hope out of the store, disappointed and a little discouraged. But then she remembered a passage she had read in her Bible a few days earlier.
“So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
“When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
“Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezekiel 33:7-9)
She had been a watchman, and the man had chosen not to listen. She had done what the Lord expected of her. As she climbed into the van, after helping to load the groceries, Grace said a prayer for the people they had given tracts to, and for the ones who would find the ones she had left, that they would be receptive to the Gospel message. She also prayed for the man who had refused the tract, that if he did not know the Lord, he would have another opportunity to hear the Gospel. Then she thanked the Lord for His help, for giving her the boldness to talk to these people. She finished by saying, “And Lord, please give me more opportunities to share the Gospel with others. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
I know I don’t usually chat at the end of my stories, but today I’m going to. I hope you enjoyed today’s story, but more than that, I hope it inspired you to do something to reach the lost.
This story is an introduction to a new series I am going to be doing here on the blog: an evangelism series. If you are interested, go ahead and subscribe, so you get an email when each following post comes out!
Did you know:
This story is not completely fictitious. You remember the advice Grace’s dad gave her, and the story he told? That story is a true story my dad told, and the advice is something I’ve heard my dad say.
And you remember the man on the bench? That was a real witnessing experience I had. We aren’t always well received when we try to witness, but that doesn’t mean we quit witnessing. Like the verse in Ezekiel says, we are to tell everyone, no matter how we are received, and if we are rejected, we have done our duty and given them God’s warning.