It's amazing the evangelism lessons you can learn from one day in the airport. Try it the next time you have a long day of travel. Ask the Lord to use the day to teach you more about his love and longing for all those people milling around you. Here are a few things the Lord showed me on a recent trip:
• You are never far from a wounded wanderer. On a recent trip I had some time to spare, so I just walked up and down the terminal, paying attention to the people that I would normally hurry past to get to my gate. In a space of about 15 minutes I saw three people openly crying. The surprising thing was that no one appeared even to notice, although they were each surrounded by people. I wonder if that happens more often than we could imagine—and not just at airports. What if we became known as “the people who notice tears?” The seeds of that are already planted with the incredible ministry of disaster relief. Why not take that spirit where you live everyday? Today is a disaster for someone near you—some wounded wanderer. And since when Jesus comes he will wipe away every tear from our eyes, following him means wiping away a few ourselves in his name.
• I am not assigned to share the gospel with everyone, and that is alright. The fourth person I saw cry that day sat beside me on the plane. When I got on board, she was on her cell phone and was talking to someone about the death of her father. It was obvious that she was on the way to his funeral. When she finished the call, I said to her, “It sounds like you are really having a tough day. I have been a minister for a long time and have walked through that with a lot of people.” As she wiped tears away, she looked at me with an expression of utter contempt and never spoke a word. Not my greatest evangelistic success! I got the feeling that she didn't have a very high view of pastors. But it was OK. I sat beside her and silently asked God to heal her, to help her—and to send someone into her life to whom she would listen. Maybe that someone will be you. You don't have to witness to everyone. That's not possible, anyway. Just play your part in the Kingdom. God will make sure there are always plenty of people who you are assigned to—who are ready even now to hear his good news from you.
• God is always ready to surprise us with his love. When I arrived at the airport in Los Angeles that day, I met a wonderful man at Hertz named Andy. He offered to drive me to the terminal instead of taking the bus. On the way, I began to talk to him about his faith. He shared with me that he loved Jesus with all his heart, that he was a leader in his church, and that the joy of his life was teaching his grandson to follow Jesus. But he also asked me to pray for his son who had just moved away—that he would come to know the Lord. I promised him I would and asked him where his son had moved. It was 15 minutes from my house! Only God could do that. As I got out he promised to send me his son's address and we embraced—brothers who had just met. I can't wait to knock on his son's door and tell him how the Heavenly Father connected me with his earthly father so I could share the love of Jesus with him.
You know, evangelism is just plain fun. You never know what is coming next, but you always know that Jesus is with you. He has told us he is leaving the 99 to go find the one. So if we are going to be his followers, that's where we will be going, too.
Interesting airport evangelism lessons. Where will the road take you tomorrow? Airports, schools, neighborhoods, stores, sports arenas and the marketplace. Jesus is already there—waiting for you to join him and make evangelism good news again.