Recently, I was in Ann Arbor, Michigan, handing out Gospel tracts with my friend, Jim. At first, we stood on a corner where the reactions we encountered were quite unfriendly, and where it seemed that few people were interested in our literature. I thought that we might have better results if we walked up and down the street and handed out our Jews for Jesus broadsides as we went. We did this for about 45 minutes, and then we returned to the corner which had been hostile” territory. I thought I might give it one last chance before we called it a day. I sent Jim to a corner diagonally across the street from mine.
I had only been back on the corner for a few minutes when the owner of the record store located there came out of his store and asked me to move.
“Would you find another corner on which to hand those out?” he said, gesturing toward my tracts.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because you’re ruining my business.”
“Well, sir, I don’t seem to be keeping anyone from into your store,” I replied, looking around me as customers entered and left his record shop.
“I don’t care,” he retorted. “I don’t want you to hand out religious propaganda in front of my property. So, get out of here and go someplace else!”
Before I could reply, he angrily stormed back inside his store. While I was deciding what to do, I thought that I would hand out a few more tracts. But, within a few minutes a sign appeared in the window in back of me, which read: “WARNING: JESUS FREAK!” It had an arrow pointing in my direction.
Surprisingly, the sign only served to stimulate curiosity. People suddenly were stopping to ask me for one of my tracts. Then they were going into the store to see who had put up that sign. While inside, many were also buying records! And, many kept the tracts I had given them and stopped to ask me questions which gave me opportunity to explain the Gospel further.
The storekeeper was displeased with this unexpected turn of events, even though it meant better sales for him. He opened the door of the store and turned up his stereo quite loud. I wasn’t sure of the name of the song he was playing, but it seemed to be saying something about a “Jewish American Princess.”
I had originally intended to stay on that corner for only a few minutes, but actually remained for an hour. I finally had to leave after an hour and a half, but only because I had run out of tracts! Jim was also able to hand out more tracts than I had expected.
Because of this storekeeper’s attempts to deter others from taking our literature, we were actually able to hand out more than 1 had hoped. We also had many conversations in which we were able to share the Good News about Jesus, and many people asked us to send them further information.
So, what that storekeeper had meant for evil, God was able to turn for the good!