As a missionary with Jews for Jesus, I’m always looking for evangelistic opportunities. Sometimes they come about in unexpected ways.
Not too long ago I was meeting with Jerry, a Jewish businessman. I had spoken to him by telephone over a three-year period, but never had a lengthy conversation with him, as he was always too busy to talk. About the only thing I knew about Jerry was that he claimed to be a Christian, but was not currently interested in God or religion. Eager to meet with Jerry, I was delighted when he told me he was willing to get together with me in person.
I met Jerry at his home, and we discussed his relationship with Yeshua. He told me that several years earlier, he had attended a church service. The sermon had been very moving, and at the invitation afterward he had found himself kneeling at the altar, praying the prayer of salvation. He had returned to the church several times after that, but had never become involved, though he did read his Bible from time to time.
We talked about sin. Jerry recognized that sin was a condition of disobedience to God. He recognized that he was a sinner, that sin would eternally separate him from God, and that the Messiah was sent to deal with our sins. Jerry had never realized the vast difference between true commitment and just saying a prayer. He confessed to me that he had never committed his life to Yeshua, and that without heart commitment, his prayer of salvation had been meaningless.
We talked more about commitment, and about the difference between the world’s values and God’s values. Maybe for the first time, Jerry understood the cost involved in being a follower of Yeshua. Jerry was not ready for a real commitment. Much like the men at Athens described in the book of Acts, he said only that he would think about it, study it some more, and get back to me later.
During our conversation, we were interrupted by Jerry’s neighbor, Kris. She didn’t talk long, but her closing remark startled me: The bridge looked good for jumping today,” she said. Jerry said not to worry. She had been talking about suicide for more than 10 years. I asked him what he thought of my going over to speak to her, and he said it would be a waste of time.
Although I was tired and wanted to go home and Jerry had told me not to bother visiting Kris, I did go to see her. At first, Kris wasn’t interested in talking, but when I told her that I knew the reason for living, she changed her mind. We talked for half an hour and went over some of the same things I had just shared with Jerry. Where Jerry had not been ready, Kris was. She prayed with me to receive the salvation of God through Yeshua; but for her, it was truly a prayer of commitment. I praise God for opportunities like that to preach the gospel! In any case my visit with Jerry was not wasted, and maybe some day soon, he too will be ready to make a real commitment.