Tract distribution is the very heart of our Jews for Jesus ministry. We reach out to many and expect a few to respond. Not a month goes by in New York City without the distribution of at least 50,000 of our broadsides. Here in the Big Apple the results have been encouraging, and more than just a few are responding.
One day as I contemplated this phenomenon of tract distribution, a thought occurred to me: Our new facility on East 31st Street is really a seven-story concrete and brick broadside. The building itself is very ordinary as it sits in the middle of the block. There is really nothing unique or eye-catching about it except maybe the sign on top and the small bronze plaque on the front door that also reads, Jews for Jesus, established 32 A.D., give or take a year, Central Midtown Eastside Branch.
I have watched people walk by our building and stop dead in their tracks as they took a long look at the bronze plaque affixed to the building. I have watched people drive past our building and have seen their jaws drop as they read that big JEWS FOR JESUS sign on top. Our name on that building is like the catchy title on a broadside. It arrests the attention of those who pass by and makes them think about Jesus.
As I thought about this, I had another idea. Since people were gawking at the building, why not hang a small tract rack outside? We did that, and each day we put in a supply of different broadsides. Now many pedestrians stop, look at the building and the sign, and take one of our tracts.
Recently a young Jewish man came by and stopped dead in his tracks. At that moment I just happened to be watching from inside on our video security system. I saw the young man’s eyes fill with anger, confusion and frustration. Aggressively he reached out, grabbed all of the tracts and began to walk off at a hurried pace. I ran out of the door and quickly chased after him, catching up with him about a block away.
I confronted him about why he had done that. He didn’t answer. I said, You appear to be religious, but your actions go contrary to what your heart should be telling you. When Moses said, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is one,’ he also said that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Your action is contrary to that commandment. You are not allowing me the religious freedom that I extend to you. Your action brings shame upon Judaism. It brings shame upon your rabbi and upon your mother.”
He didn’t say anything, but stood still as I turned and walked back to the building. As a matter of fact, he must have stood on that corner, thinking, for at least 15 minutes. Again on the video camera I saw him return. He went up to the tract rack and put back all the tracts he had taken. I went outside to talk to him. This time we conversed. We exchanged ideas and even telephone numbers. Soon I will be contacting that thoughtful young seeker of truths. I must admit that I had never expected him to come back to the building to return those tracts. God certainly has a sense of humor!
Please pray for that young man and the many like him in New York City. I believe that we may be on the threshold of an evangelistic breakthrough here.