I just got to lead my first person to Christ. It was the evening on Monday, April 14, 2014. It was snowing lightly despite the fact that it was in the middle of the spring. We had just finished eating and I looked outside at the snow. I suddenly felt an odd urge to go for a walk. Now, I don’t normally enjoy walking in falling snow. However, I wanted to this night. I asked my parents if they would like to go with me. They did not wish to walk in the falling snow but gave me somewhat reserved permission to do so. Most of the time when I walk I bring my iPod along and listen to recorded sermons. However, I did not do so tonight. I walked out of my home and began walking up the street. As I walked I tried to pray. Oddly, the words did not come as fluidly as they normally do. I resigned myself to a silent walk.
As I reached the top of our street I neared the start of a walking trail. Suddenly a gentleman and lady sitting in front of a house called out to me “How are you?” I answered “Better than I deserve.” They were confused so I clarified, “Christ died for my sins and took the punishment on the cross I deserved. Thus, I’m better than I deserve.” They looked confused and I repeated my reasoning again. The gentleman spoke, “I think this is a sign. I just got into a verbal argument,” he paused briefly, “Can I walk with you.” I replied “Sure!” He was about to leave but the woman, who I later learned was his live-in girlfriend, did not want him to go. He told me his name (I’ll call him Bill) and that, “If I see you again, I’ll talk with you.” I said that I would be happy to stay and talk with him. “I’m in no hurry,” I said. He reluctantly repeated that we could talk later.
I walked on, praying that I would meet the gentleman again. As I started down the trail, I heard him call for me. Bill ran to the trail and asked to walk with me. As we walked he said that he wanted to talk. I asked him of he was a Christian. “I’m Baptist,” he replied, “Is that okay?” “That’s fine,” I said, “I’m charismatic. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” “Fire away,” he said. “Do you consider yourself a good person?” I began. “Yes, fairly good,” He replied. “Have you kept the Ten Commandments?” I continued. He paused briefly, “Yes, to the best of my ability.” “Do you mind if we look as a few?” I asked. “Sure,” he said. “Let’s look at the ninth commandment. Have you ever lied?” I asked. “Yes, I have,” he replied. “Now let’s look at the eighth commandment. Have you ever stolen?” I asked. “Yes, in the past,” he admitted. “Have you ever committed adultery?” I asked. “What’s adultery?” he asked me. I explained what adultery was and he said, “No, but the woman I am with now I took from someone who she was unhappy with.” “Have you ever lusted?” I asked. “What’s lust?” He asked me. I explained lust and he replied, “No, I love my girlfriend because she is a good person.” I was not about to let him het away with that answer so followed it up with an uncharacteristically blunt question, “Have you ever thought about having sex with her?” “Yes, I have,” he honestly answered. “Well, Christ said that if you look at a woman with lust you have committed adultery with her in your heart,” I clarified. “Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain?” I asked. “Yes, when I’m angry,” he replied.
“So, by your own admission you’re a lying, stealing, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. If God judged you by his Ten Commandments would you be innocent of guilty.” He looked down, “Guilty.” “Would you go to heaven or hell?” I asked. “Heaven because God knows that there is some goodness inside of me and He’s a good God.” He answered. “Well, let’s try that in a court of law,” I hypothesized, “You have stolen one million dollars and you’re before a judge and you tell him ‘Well I believe that you are a good judge and you will let me go.’ Would he let you go?” “No,” he replied. “You’re right, he would probably say ‘you’re right, I’m a good judge and because I’m good I have to give you justice.”
“But when I have sinned I give my sins over to God hurt myself to show him I’m sorry,” he said. “Let’s try that in the court,” I countered, “Would the judge say ‘look, I know you hurt yourself therefore I will let you go?’” “No” he replied. I explained to him what Christ did on the cross. “It would be like that judge saying ‘you can either repay the one million dollars or spend a life sentence in prison.’ The someone you don’t know runs into the court and says ‘I sold everything I most value to raise that one million dollars and I want to pay Bill’s bail because he’s my friend and I love him.’”
I told him that hat was what Christ did on the cross. God sacrificed His most valuable possession, His own Son, so that your fine could be legally paid. “I know,” Bill said, “I accepted Christ when I was young.” I told him that I did not see the fruit of a Christian lifestyle in his life. “When I Christian accepts Christ he turns from his sin and does not look back. You have already told me that you are living in sin.” He looked at the ground, “What do I have to do?” “You need to make your life right with Christ,” I said. Then I asked, “Would you like to make your life right today?” “Yes,” he said. “Would you like to pray here?” I asked. “Yes, I would,” he said. “Why don’t you pray here and I’ll pray for you afterwards.” Bill prayed a simple yet heartfelt prayer and I prayed for him afterwards.
We talked for a few minutes and I encouraged him to read the Bible and get in a good church. I also invited him to my church for the next Sunday, Easter Sunday. We parted ways at the end of the trail and I returned home. I am thrilled about how God used my life! I was in the right place at the right time. I allowed God to use my ability and spoke as He guided me. What an incredible God we serve!
James W. Ware