After many months of talking to Silviu about his need to make a real commitment to Yeshua, I had begun to wonder if I was guilty of spending too much time with too little fruit. Our discussions tended to dance in and out and around the person and ministry of Yeshua among other topics that resembled what Paul instructed young Timothy to avoid. Besides, I had many other important things on my mind, one of which was selling a ministry car in my charge. Still, I decided to look in on Silviu again. I was on my way home from a rest home ministry with my partner Hydei Brodsky, a third-generation Jewish believer in Jesus, volunteer evangelist and interpreter for the deaf.
As we were running late and trying to find our way, a fellow in a Buick traveling parallel to us in the next lane noticed the For Sale sign on my car. He began to barter with me as we drove north on the busy Los Angeles street. He seemed serious about buying the car as he waved a thousand dollars at me in fifty dollar bills. I shook my head. That amount was less than I thought I could accept. Besides, I couldn’t very well liquidate the car out from under us. I had my volunteer worker, my guitar and a newly repaired office chair that had to be back at the office by my 7:00 p.m. Bible study. Was this guy an angel or a distraction? At the next traffic signal I gave him my phone number, which he wrote in saliva on the inside of his windshield. Later I realized that I had not given him the proper area code. If that sale came to pass, it would have to be divinely appointed!
Running a bit late, we apologized to Silviu and took him to a late lunch/early dinner that has become a missionary routine. We went to a Carl’s Jr. restaurant which seems to me the kind of people place” the Lord might have used to perform some personal ministry had he chosen our 20th-century world for his earthly appearance.
I let Hydei carry the ball this time. Somewhere in my walk with the Lord and my ministry among the needy and new believers, I had intuitively learned to risk letting my sanctified sidekicks carry the conversation some of the time.
Since Silviu was fond of logical and diagrammed premises and conclusions, Hydei drew a small dot on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet and asked Silviu, “Do you have this much faith? That’s all it takes.” Silviu looked relieved at the simplicity of Hydei’s analogy. He was perhaps a bit exasperated by then with some of the Christian voices of the past who had made his pilgrimage overly complicated. Refreshingly, he admitted that reading J.I. Packer’s Knowing God had helped him to see what Holly Raybin, another member of our staff, had told him a year ago: God did not expect him to exhaust the mechanics of spiritual phenomena before presenting himself to the Master. He only had to commit whatever understanding and faith he did possess “for heaven’s sake.”
Hydei must have felt abandoned as she poured out her soul in story to Silviu while I “nonchalantly” scanned a bitterly anti-religious article in a free weekly Silviu had spotted. I wasn’t bored. I was honestly overcome by a measure of trust and a few proverbs that were running through my head about not grabbing the spotlight. I knew that such a move would risk taking the conversation several visits back on Silviu’s calendar of spiritual development.
But then the time was right for Silviu, and we all knew it. At that point, Silviu followed me in a prayer of accepting God’s provision for forgiveness. He invited Yeshua, the salvation of the God of his fathers, into his life and resolved to be the kind of follower who would seek to repair the damages and confusion of the past in Jesus’ name.
Hydei had been humble enough to sacrifice the pride of originality and borrow an illustration of her grandfather’s. In trusting God to work through my junior laborer, I had used a lesson learned from my dealings with my own children: sometimes the best way to help Daddy is to stay out of Daddy’s way!
Silviu, now a brand new believer, ate his salad. The guy with the $1,000.00 never called me about buying the car. Still, it was a good day!
Editor’s Note: We had first mentioned Silviu in Volume 10:5747 of this Newsletter. Thank you for praying for him. The car was sold, too. Praise God for answered prayer.