She approached me at the end of the church service. Her name was Ruth. My father is Jewish and my mother is a Christian,” she said. “They told me that I could choose whichever religion I wanted, so I’d like to talk about it.”
Ruth had a basic knowledge of Judaism and Christianity, but she did not understand how the two religions were intertwined. It was easy for me to explain. After all, believing in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, is a very Jewish thing to do. We discussed ideas about the Messiah, and that he was going to come not only as a king to bring peace to the world, but also as a suffering servant to give his life for the sins of the world.
Ruth had no trouble grasping and believing everything that we discussed. It all made sense to her. But there remained one problem: Ruth felt that in order for her to believe in and follow Jesus, she would have to give up all the “fun” she was having with her friends. We talked about the true life that Jesus gives, but she said that she had a problem with peer pressure and too much to lose. “I still have plenty of time,” she said.
I tried to tell her about the strength that God gives to the believer to overcome in all things, emphasizing the love that he has for us and the abundant life that he wants to give us through Jesus. Ruth said that she had to leave. Because of her statement about “plenty of time,” I encouraged her in parting not to play games with God and to consider his holiness.
That was all I could do, and after Ruth left I felt frustrated. It’s understandable that often because of tradition or something else that may be blinding Jewish people, they will not be able to see the truth about Jesus. But when they can see the truth about him and still are unwilling to make a commitment because they are unable to deal with the problem of sin in their lives and the need for a change, that is discouraging. Ruth wanted peace; but when it was offered to her, she didn’t want to stop her war against God to receive it.
At that point I felt discouraged, but God was not finished dealing with Ruth that evening. I found out later that she had been looking for me before she left the church. I saw her across the parking lot and I called out to her, wondering if she wanted to talk some more. She said that she had left something back in the church where we had met. When I went back inside, there was a note for me from Ruth. It said, “I made a decision for Jesus. Thanks for the encouragement.”
I turned and ran outside to pray with her and counsel her some more, but her ride had already arrived and she was about to leave. I only had time to wave goodbye as I silently prayed for my new sister in Christ and for those at the church who would be able to follow up and minister to her spiritual needs.