“Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it”
“Hey, I see you’re searching for something.”
These are my first, freaked out, cold-sweat, nerve-trembling words to a stranger while riding on the bus one hot summer day.
I had given my life to the Lord about seven months earlier, and He quickly choreographed it so that all my time was focused on Him. I soon got fired from a job that I actually thought I was doing as a favor, and strangely I couldn’t get another one. I started leaving my B.A. off of applications just so I wasn’t “overqualified” for waitressing jobs, or deli jobs, or retail…nothing worked.
There was this little whisper in my spirit the whole time that said, “I don’t want you to have a job,” but I dismissed that as some crazy passing thought. Finally, after I took a 45-minute bus trip to interview for an open position at Pizza Hut (where I had worked for three years in college), and I didn’t get the job, then I had a little fit with God.
You know the kind.
“God, I gave my life to you, and now you can’t even get me a dumb job?”
Then I heard it again. “I don’t want you to have a job.” This time, He had my attention.
“Seriously? Do you mean it?”
Then a strange peace washed over me that didn’t make any sense in my mind, but somehow reassured me that it really was God. After wrestling with this a little, I told Him, “Okay, but you’re going to have to make it alright with my Mom.”
Of course, I didn’t understand it at the time, but I had just enlisted in God’s spiritual training camp–one that apparently concluded with a test. My faith performance would open the door to the next level of His plan for my life. If I passed the test, I would graduate, be given a new job, and and then resume on my new path of life as the Lord’s covert agent, walking with Him everywhere I go.
He spent the next several months teaching me about Himself and showing me things in the Bible. I read a lot. He gave me a hunger to understand, and endless questions, which drove me to search through His Word for the answers. He brought teachers into my life, and led my Mom and me to the church that would be our home for a dozen years. He was getting me ready for something, but He didn’t reveal it all at once. Gradually, patiently, lovingly, God prepared me for sharing my faith with others. He did it through little things, bits of messages I would hear, or scriptures I would run into. He would quietly say, “You could do that.” And sometimes He would gently prod, “You love Me, right?”
Then one day about seven months later, I was waiting at a bus stop. There was a young guy standing there too, and I distinctly heard God say, “Hey, why don’t you tell him about me?”
I went into a panic. I started hyperventilating, and my heart quickened distressingly. I tried to dismiss the voice. I tried to tell myself that it wasn’t God. Then, that He would forgive me if I didn’t do it. Then, that I needed more time—I wasn’t ready. But no other thought gave me peace.
Then finally, “What do I say?” I kind of yelled in my head. “I’ve got nothing, God!” I looked the guy over. He was reading some brochure about New Age Spiritualism. Just then the bus pulled up, and we got on. That was it. I was off the hook because now we weren’t even sitting near each other.
But no. I wasn’t off the hook.
I realized now that I was more anxious than ever. In fact, I started to become more anxious at the idea of missing my chance and disappointing God than at the idea of talking to a stranger about Him. My mouth grew dry as I visualized the brave moment when I would just make a fool out of myself. “I don’t know what to say, Jesus!”
Then deep in my spirit I heard, “Just open your mouth, I’ll give you the words.”
Before I could change my mind, my body stood, walked the three rows forward, and plopped down in the seat next to the stranger.
“Hi,” I blurted.
“Hi,” he replied, surprised, but not unsettled.
Then I opened my mouth.
“Hey, I see you’re searching for something,” I casually observed, heart thumping enough to put vibrato in my voice. He looked questioningly at me, and I pointed to the New Age brochure he was reading.
“Oh, yeah,” he smiled. “I’m just checking it out.”
“Well,” I swallowed hard, but there was no saliva. “I just wanted to remind you not to overlook the obvious,” I chuckled. “Everyone has heard about God and how Jesus died for you, but don’t overlook Him just because He’s old fashioned. If you’re honestly looking, you should check him out.” I remembered to add a big smile.
He looked at the brochure in his hand, and then back at me. He smiled, and nodded appreciatively. “Okay. Thanks.”
“Okay,” I sprang up, “Take care,” I hurriedly replied, and retreated back to my seat.
I sat there, buzzing from adrenaline. I knew I hadn’t given him the whole gospel, and I didn’t try to get him to accept Jesus. I didn’t even stay to answer any questions. I thought to myself, “Man, I blew it.”
After a few more minutes, and my heart rate began to slow, I heard a clear voice inside me.
Just then, the bus stopped, and the young man got up to leave. At the door, he turned and gave me a little wave. I smiled and returned it. Joy filled my being.
“That’s it, God?”
“That’s it,” He reassured me.
For me, that was the beginning. I didn’t know it all those months, but God was training me to be an evangelist. It’s not everyone’s calling, and for a while, I was convinced it wasn’t mine. But the beautiful thing is that “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure,” (Phil 2:13). This means that God puts ideas on our heart, and then He helps us to do them, if we are willing.
This blog is intended to share some of the many things I’ve learned about being a seed-planter for Jesus. I believe that through these articles, God can show you simple ways to respond when Jesus prompts you to speak, even if you are not called specifically to be “an evangelist.” He gives all of us opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives every day, but He always does it with respect for our individual gifts and personalities.
There are a lot of lost souls out there who we encounter through our daily lives. Sometimes all it takes to open someone’s heart to that seed is just letting them know that they matter.
Start by telling God that you are willing, then trust Him to develop your comfort with seed-planting gradually. Most of all, pray and when He creates an opportunity, just open your mouth.