I had an incredible conversation with a church member last Sunday. As I was about to leave the church, I noticed a member waving for me to come over and talk to her. So, I did. She began the conversation by saying, “I had two Jehovah’s Witnesses come visit me this past week.” Stop right there.
At this point, my mind starts rapidly filtering into my JW database in order to anticipate her question or concern. I was expecting to hear something along the lines of how annoying “those people” are and perhaps I was being summoned to give her a few pointers on how she can get them off her front porch. But, that’s not what happened…
As the conversation ensued, this friend of mine explained how God gave her patience and a soft heart when these two elderly women at her doorstep introduced themselves as JW. Even surprising herself, my friend open her door wider and invited them in. Yes, she invited them into her home. From there, this Baptist church member joyfully exclaimed that she ended up having the best spiritual conversation of her life over the next 45 minutes. Not willing to compromise on truth, but very willing to show love, hospitality, and a listening ear.
That is how people see the beauty of the gospel.
Here are a few takeaways from my conversation with this amazing church member:
- Women tend to take more risks. Certainly not always, but more often than not when I hear about risky, bold moves for the gospel, I’m hearing the testimony of a woman.
- Speaking truth with grace really is possible. I think this friend of mine was a powerful picture of Jesus Christ as she opened her home to a couple of people with whom she knowingly disagrees…strongly disagrees…with their faith and practice.
- My friend is a long-time, strong believer. I would not necessarily recommend this specific course of action for a new believer in the faith, at least for them to be alone during the encounter. As my friend was telling me this story, I had no concerns that she would capitulate on the truthfulness of the word of God.
- I was rebuked. A couple of months ago I had two gentlemen visit my door at an inopportune time. Although I was certainly cordial with my guests, I quickly let them know my position at the Baptist church just up the hill and shut things down in just a couple of minutes. That’s not good enough.
- I need to stock up on Sanka and coffee cake. I’m hoping my wife is chuckling at this point because not long ago we watched a comedian discuss how things have changed over the last 20 years when we hear a knock at the door. 20 years ago when you heard your doorbell, it was a “happy moment.” Today, we duck, turn off the tv. and play dead so they will go away. Sanka was (is?) a brand of instant decaffeinated coffee. The point is that I need to be prepared to welcome in a stranger, offer them a drink, and talk about the goodness of the Lord.
I’m thankful for the conversation I had last Sunday morning about a Baptist and a Jehovah’s Witness, and I’m hopeful that others in the church will follow her example.