When I was younger, I heard a story about a little who girl who asked God for a birthday gift. What made this story stick in my heart when I heard it was not God’s immediate answer to her request, but the nature of her request. The little girl didn’t ask for something materialistic, like a new toy, but she asked for an eternal gift: she asked God to help her bring one person to Christ on her birthday, and God honored that prayer on that very day.
Needless to say I was pretty impressed. So after that day I decided that I wanted to pray that same prayer. But I need to be honest; my prayer wasn’t quite as bold as it should have been, I asked God to use me to bring one person to Christ, for the whole of my lifetime.
Being as young as I was when I heard that story, I think it’s pretty incredible that God was already changing the desires of my heart to his desires. And I wish that I could say that in the years that followed that that prayer remained at the forefront of my mind, but it probably wasn’t even on the back-burner. But unbeknownst to me, God had heard my prayer and was working through me in all those years in ways I never would have thought to imagine.
Yesterday I got to attend the baptismal service for the mother of one of my closest friends from high school. Her mother’s journey to Christ was a long one, spanning the course of over 10 years and I am humbled to say I am a part of her spiritual journey that eventually led to an acceptance of Jesus as her personal savior. And the best part (I’m not sure if it should be the worst part) is that I didn’t even know it at the time.
I can’t say that I ever had any deep talks about Jesus with my friends’ mom in fact I never really talked to her much through the course of the past 6 years. To some degree I did talk to my friend about Jesus, but those conversations never really produced fruit, they were mostly initiated by pure curiosity on her side. Which begs the question, what did I do in these past 6 years to help bring my friends mom to Christ?
To be frank, I was simply me. I never hid my faith in high school; my friends never had to ask what I believed in because they already knew. The same way they knew my favorite color they also knew I went to church every Sunday and that I couldn’t hang out on Friday nights because I wanted to go to church again.
I may never have actually tried to evangelize my friends, but my life was transparent enough that my love of Christ was clear to anyone and everyone. As young as I was in high school, I knew the importance of leading a life that pointed to Christ and being a light for Christ was the biggest desire of my heart. In fact, my favorite prayer in high school came from Matthew 5:14.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden”
Read that again. C-A-N-N-O-T. That’s a statement, in case you missed it, a fact.
If we, as Christians, are living the life we are supposed to be leading, it is impossible for the world not to notice. And even though I didn’t realize it at the time, the world did notice, to the point that my friends’ mom, who was already at a place where she knew she needed to find God, knew that she could go to my mom and ask her about where we went to church. It took a few years for her to actually make it through the front door of our church but she did make it there and two years after that she made it to the cross.
Years after I had prayed my prayer God answered, I helped bring someone into a personal relationship with Christ. The seeds I sowed in high school were not in vain, it just took a few years for them to show fruit and I’m hopefully that in the years to come there will only be more.
God said it himself, his word will not return to him empty, it will accomplish what he desires and achieve his purpose (Isaiah 55).