As much as we would like to believe that there is one good strategy to bring Christ’s good news to the ends of the Earth, there isn’t.
One technique may work perfectly in one conversation only to fail over and over again when we apply that same technique to other situations. Every heart is different, and the map to pierce each heart with the gospel is different. Only God knows what the path looks like to set free the captive hearts and release the treasure within. Despite all our planning, we must always be listening for God’s soft whisper to guide us, for he is always moving.
Even during our fall retreat in the southernmost city of our country, God was at work inviting us into his great treasure hunt. Sally was sitting on the dock having her quiet time, when a covered Arab girl came up and sat next to her. Her name was Shelly, and her family was from the far opposite side of the country. Right away, Shelly asked Sally what she thought of Muslims. Though Shelly was open to talk more about spiritual things, Sally had to go. They traded numbers and parted ways, but that was all that was needed for the journey to begin. God handed Sally a map with unknown riches lying in wait at the end.
Shelly lives an hour and a half north of our location and goes to a university in her city that we have been wanting to start a spiritual movement on. Sally wanted to follow up with her, but had no idea if it was possible because she lived so far away. It was a chasm too big for her to cross, but God provided a bridge.
A few weeks later Sally discovered that a visiting group was planning to go up to Shelly’s campus. She secured a spot in their van and texted Shelly to see if she would be open that specific time and day. By some miracle, she was, but God had greater things to come.
Though Shelly was open to hear about the gospel, the two friends she brought with her to meet Sally were far more receptive. Sally shared the whole gospel via the 4 Laws. Once she finished, the three wanted to learn more and kept asking questions. Sally showed them a gospel focused video called “Falling Plates.” While watching, the three were thrilled to be able to point out the different parts of the gospel message from the 4 Laws in the video.
They explained that they thought Christianity and Islam were pretty identical, but now they see just how big the difference is. They now understand how important it is for them to decide to follow Christ. They talked about the gospel for over an hour until they had to leave because they were already late for their test. “Please don’t forget about us up here in the north. Please come back up and visit us,” Shelly’s friend pleaded to Sally.
Who could have known the journey God set before us of building a spiritual movement on Shelly’s campus would start on the opposite side of the country? Only God could align our time in the south perfectly with Shelly and her family. Only God could have directed Shelly and Sally onto the same dock.
There’s no telling how long this map will lead Sally before she reaches the treasure. We don’t even know what exactly the treasure may be. All we know is that the map goes on. From one encounter to another. Sometimes intersecting with other treasure trails, sometimes journeying through long stretches of dry dessert. Occasionally leading to new life in others and directing them on their own treasure hunt. But, each map and each treasure are just a fragment of the massive Map of Mankind that our High-King has created since the beginning. One day the final treasure will be unearthed and the hope of mankind will rule forever.
Until then, priceless gems remain buried and locked away. Each of us is given a map to take our part in revealing God’s love to this despairing world. Hearts are yearning for more but don’t know where to find it. Just as Shelly’s friends were, souls are pleading to be set free, saying “please don’t forget us.”
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"We’ve been praying that God would direct us to students who are ready to receive his gospel or who have already trusted in Jesus and are ready to share the gospel themselves. We knew these people existed on our campus; but, after years of reaching out, meeting such students seemed impossible."
We’re not always guaranteed that we will see our dream of students taking steps of faith come to fruition. So when we do see this dream become reality, we should see it for what it is, as a mighty miracle from God. And, to our continual amazement and praise, it seems like this miracle is occurring almost daily on our college campuses here.
"The opening sentence of the student's testimony brought everything into perspective for me. I had honestly forgotten that just a month before this, I had no clue who this student was."
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