I’ve been sharing the pictures from our visits to Israel. But allow me to share an experience…I gave a devotional to the Christians on our Pilgrim Tour through Israel, inviting them not to be mere tourists at the various locations where the Lord intervened into our world, but to seek a God encounter.
After the first stop, where Jesus cast the legion of demons out of a man, we were at Bethsaida where an Australian woman stopped me and shared that she was a tourist, but was fascinated with the way we Christians interacted with our Bibles, as if we had a personal relationship with our Bibles. I told her, “God comes alive in the Bible for us Christian.” To which she responded, “Maybe God could heal me of my breathing problem.” I was in a hurry to see where Jesus fed the 5,000 and encouraged her to look for and expect a God encounter on the trip as I scurried off. I prayed for her the rest of the day to find God and be healed.
That afternoon a 75 year old missionary who was the official pastor for our group gave a sermon while we were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. His message encouraged us to share our faith (following the disciple’s model). His old fashioned style had urgency, communicating that telling people about Jesus was the most important thing we could do, and should do.
Later that night, after dinner and the evening events, I was in the lobby relaxing with a traveling companion, and who do I see praying at a table eyes closed–hands grasped together with the Australian woman, but none other than the old style Missionary leading her to Christ!
Hmm, why did he bring her to Jesus instead of me? I might be able to claim the Holy Spirit used me to plant a seed, “Don’t be a tourist.” But why didn’t I pursue the issue of her soul, especially when she had shown interest? I had prayed for her throughout the day and intended to raise the matter with her later and more specifically ask God to release His healing into her life…but the old fashioned Missionary didn’t wait until tomorrow…obviously he had investigated her spiritual state earlier on the trip and didn’t wait for the proverbial tomorrow. He practiced what he preached!
Later that night in my devotions I read about a contrast in the late 1700’s between the genteel Presbyterian pastor’s living in their safe homes, while the circuit riding preacher Francis Asbury slept out in the open air and dealt with many hardships and dangers and at the end of his ministry brought 200,000 people to the Lord. Which kind of Christian are we?
By Rev. Dr. William Lewis