Late night on the GO
Recently, I was travelling from Toronto to Guelph on the GO bus. The trip was late at night. By the time we were getting close to the Guelph there was only one other passenger on the bus (sitting near the back). I was sitting right at the front . . . in a great spot for a conversation with the bus driver.
I did not feel like talking, BUT . . .
I did not feel like talking. However, I sensed that it would be best to try to talk to the driver and hopefully spread the Gospel to him. Yet, I found a war being waged within myself, “Just read your Bible instead, it’s too awkward to say something to this guy.” But on the other hand, “Have faith in God, just say something; who knows what the Lord may do?” “No, he is going think you are weird; just read, that makes more sense.” Yet, “Why wouldn’t you try to evangelize; be bold, open your mouth and speak?” The war continued, but finally, by the grace of God, I spoke (praying much).
I opened my mouth
“So how long you been driving bus?” I forget the exact amount of years, but he said something like, “Ten years.” I said, “How do you like it?” He replied, “It’s good.” I said, “Do you always do this route or do they switch it up?” He responded, “They switch it up.” The small continued for a bit and that was it. Silence. Attempt made. Good little chat, no Gospel, but at least I tried. A little discouraging that the conversation ended so soon. But, I cannot force things – I guess the Lord was not opening the door. Or was He?
I sat in silence for a little while, wanting to say something, but having no idea what would be suitable to say. No longer we went without speaking the more weird I felt resuming the conversation. Finally, he passed a truck and said to me, “This truck was holding us up and all the traffic behind us, now we can go faster.”
I thought, “Wow, he said something! This is an open door to respond . . . somehow . . . in someway.” I said, “I notice you have an accent. Where are you from?” He said, “Sri Lanka.” “Really!” I replied. Then I went on to explain how I have friends from Sri Lanka. He found this interesting. I learned that has been in Canada for over twenty years now. I went on to ask him about his religion. He told me that he is Hindu though Sri Lanka is largely Buddhist.
Talking about Jesus
I told him that I was a Christian and asked, “What do you believe about Jesus?” He did not really answer my question but assured me that he is not very religious and that religion has been the cause of great problems in the world, especially war. I agreed to this sad reality but told him that Jesus Christ came to give peace, to reconcile people to God. He seemed quite intrigued. [Now for those of you NT scholars, I know it is also true, in another sense, that Jesus also came “not to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt 10:34), BUT this is in reference to personal relationships with family . . . on the cost of following Jesus.]
I asked him, “Do you know the Gospel of Jesus Christ?” “No.” I asked, “Can I tell you what it is?” He said, “sure.” I started by explaining Genesis 1-3 (in summary fashion). I focused on how God is the Creator and that He created all things good. I told him how God created us to be with him. God was to be our God, we were to be his people and He was to dwell in our midst. But Adam and Eve rebelled against God, and this rebellion had deadly repercussions. I stopped and asked him if he understood what I was saying. He affirmed that he did. So I went on.
Romans 5 with people from the East
From this point I basically explained Romans 5:12-21. We talked about the difference between the individualistic culture of the West as opposed to the East. He agreed that the culture of Sri Lanka is much more familial. He seemed to have a clear understand of how the SIN of one family member serious affects the rest of the family. So, I explained Adam and Jesus as the two representative heads of mankind. If my memory is correct, I think I talked about the consequence for sinning against God, which is everlasting punishment. I talked about the guilt of our sin and how the entire human race is unable to somehow undo our guilt. It is too late.
Thus, I explained how God has shown his great love toward us in providing a way to be saved from our sin, guilt and punishment. He sent Jesus to be our representative in two ways. He came on our behalf, acting as a substitute, both in his (1) life=representative righteousness for us, and (2) death=representative bearing punishment for us.
From this point I explained how the only way to benefit from the work the Jesus has done on our behalf is being stopping to live our lives our way, and to turn to Jesus, putting all of our trust in Him and the WORK that HE HAS DONE on our behalf.
If my memory is correct, I think I stopped and asked him if he understood what I saying. Again, he said that he did. Sometimes I ask this often because it gives the person a chance to ask questions and to gain clarification on anything I said that may be unclear to them. Whatever the case, he really seemed to be listening and understanding (at least on an intellectual level). I asked him, “Have you ever heard this message before?” He said, “No, but it is good to hear this teaching.”
The Gospel is a message of command
I continued, “There is one more thing you need to know. This message is not just an option. The Bible says that God is commanding all people everywhere repent, that is, to turn to Christ (Acts 17:30-31), even you and me – all people. Everyone will face the judgement.”
A weighty feeling of intensity and awkwardness
At this point I could feel the intensity of our conversation. This was not a light conversation. I was telling him that God is commanding him to turn to Jesus Christ. There was a weight that I could feel in the air. I was uncomfortable. I was tempted to say something to lighten things up a bit. Possibly I could say, “Well that’s Gospel. Thanks for listening,” or “So, how many kids do you have?” or “Do you have a place where you meet with other Hindu’s for worship?” I often make the mistake of saying something to lighten things up at these really intense moments. This time God gave me the grace to let it sit. I endured the awkwardness and said nothing. Neither did he. I wondered what he was thinking – only God knows. That was it.
Eventually, we had some brief small chat when he dropped me off in Guelph. He was very friendly. I gave him a copy of the NT and a Gospel tract inserted. He was thankful for it. This is the ministry of planting. You never know what kind of ground you are planting on AND who God may send to water.
Praise God for His Grace
Praise God for shaking off my fears and giving me boldness. This evangelistic break through was because of God’s grace. I am thankful to God for this grace. I was filled with joy after sharing. People come to faith by hearing the Gospel (Rom 10:17). May the Lord give us the grace to keep spreading it!