What I Did on My Thanksgiving Vacation
The next time you hear that scathingly original comeback: Jews for Jesus is like vegetarians for meat,” REMEMBER THIS:
Once upon a time about some 20+ years ago a nice Jewish girl from upstate New York daily trekked the streets of dog-eat-dog Manhattan to and from work. One day, upon returning to her office from lunch in the neighborhood of 54th Street and Lexington Ave., someone handed her a bright yellow flyer. On the way up the elevator she opened the brochure and began to read. As the elevator rose, so did her blood pressure. By the time the 11th floor door opened, she was in an outrage over the blasphemy she had just read! Imagine the absolute audacity for someone to claim that Jesus was a Jew and that Jews should actually believe He is the Messiah!!! Well, it was a good thing that the person who shared this pack of lies with her was out of sight; otherwise she just might have had the urge to spit in their face!! (That is, if she was a spitting-in-the-face type of person.)
OK, so obviously you’ve figured out the girl in the story was me. Some from my past can not only vividly picture this event (spitting debatable), but can also recollect many conversations of the same nature over this last decade or two. The organization who planted that very first seed was Jews for Jesus. And I am notoriously remembered for saying some seven years ago, with quite a bit of indignation, “Jews for Jesus is like giving meat to a vegetarian!”
So, many seeds later and a life surrendered to the King, where do you think God’s sense of humor would lead me? Where else but passing out tracts, proclaiming Jesus is Lord on the crowded streets of New York City, wearing a Jews for Jesus jacket. Yes, that’s where He put me the Friday after Thanksgiving, under quite remarkable circumstances. Not only was this Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, but I stood in the rain in front of the largest, busiest shopping store, none other than Macy’s of 34th Street.
The awesome combination of prayer (my own and others covering me), the Word of God and fasting released God’s working and protective shield over me. His protection was strong enough to break through my own insecurities, as well as guard against the enemy’s tactics.
My fingers were challenged enough to keep up with efficiently distributing the tracts in rapid succession to the masses of shoppers, so there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for one-on-one witnessing. The only drama I experienced was when two young Orthodox Jewish girls tricked me into giving them a handful of tracts so they could promptly toss them in the closest garbage. After recovering from the brief discouragement of being duped, I realized that God was much more powerful than I and could redeem that situation as He did with me more than 20 years ago.
Throughout the day and subsequent reflections on the day, I keep returning back to the Scripture that was read at the beginning of the day during the training: “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good” (Ecclesiastes 11:6).
Regardless of how God uses each person to get the Good News out—whether it be as bold as street evangelism or another valuable behind-the-scenes service—we are still called to do the same thing: spread seeds and trust God to water them with His grace and mercy. How I praise Him for His hand over that seed planted in me two decades ago!
Lauri Gruen is a Jewish believer who still lives in upstate New York with her husband and 2 children.