You Never Know When
Hanging on our living room wall is a special picture given to me (David) by my parents when I was ordained in the ministry. The picture depicts the account of Daniel in the Lions Den and it serves as a constant reminder that obeying God isn’t always easy or free of trouble.
In the picture Daniel is kneeling in the familiar position of prayer. He’s looking up with a ray of light focused down on him, the lions are standing quietly around him … some are watching him while others are not paying any attention to him at all. In the foreground, two pieces of rough timber lie on the floor creating the image of a cross (I’m pretty sure that last part wasn’t in the book of Daniel).
We placed the picture there to remind us of a reality we have learned through the years: serving Jesus Christ is not free of struggle as times of opposition find their way into your life. It also reminds us that, when such times come, prayer is an essential part of what will get us through them. Powerful and needed!
Recently a friend stopped by and walked into our living room and pointed at the picture as he asked us, “What is this picture about? Is it something to do with Jesus?”
He is a young man who wasn’t raised in the church although he is a very spiritual person himself; his faith tradition is found in the faith of Hinduism. We shared with him it was about a man named Daniel and his story is found in the Bible. His eyes let us know this was all new to him. Asking another question he let us know he wanted to find out more, so we continued to tell more of the story about the man Daniel.
We talked about how the Hebrews were captured and living in a foreign land to which they had been relocated after losing the battle to the Babylonians. He asked a couple more questions. And we went on to share about what Daniel had done to be in such a place as is depicted in the picture. We told him about how God rescued Daniel from these normally hungry lions. He listened and seemed to understand the extraordinary commitment of Daniel. The impact of the story was real as it reflected on his face. Daniel was speaking to him through the life he lived and choices he made.
Several days later our friend returned to visit with us and this time we had a few other guests. The subject of the picture hanging on our living room wall came up again (this is only the 3rd time in the 2 years anyone has talked about the picture). Our friend smiled big and began to tell our guests about the story he had learned just several days earlier. He even shared some details we didn’t talk about (yeah, he read it from the book of Daniel as I had texted him a link to where the story was found). He had read about it and was excited to share what he had discovered. It was a fun moment for us and our friend.
Sometimes the shifts that take place seem rather small and the impact of your sharing doesn’t appear to go very far. And then … something happens, and you recognize how far reaching a simple conversation about a picture on the wall can take a person. They have been impacted, maybe changed, or at the least it has caused them to think about things differently than they did before.
This is what living with Gospel intentionality is about as we take simple, everyday type interactions with the People of Peace in our lives and share the good news that the kingdom of God has come near to them. It is Gospel fluency at work when we can take something like a picture on the wall and share about the love, acceptance, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ with others.
Our friend hasn’t become a follower of Jesus, yet; he may never choose to do so. It really is his decision to make. In the meantime, we continue to share the love Christ has put in our hearts with him. We also do what we can to let him see how the forgiveness Jesus gives us is real and powerful. And we allow him the room he needs to experience the acceptance Jesus shared with us and has for him. We hope one day our friend will see Jesus as Savior and Lord of his life. That would be a wonderful thing to watch happen. Until then we just keep on discipling him as he explores the way of Christ.
Living with Gospel Intentionality is a life in which you never know exactly when a person will show interest and lean in for more. Start paying attention to those moments and don’t overlook them as being unimportant. You never know when…