In a recent conversation with friends we talked about the opportunities for evangelism that airplane rides present. You have a captive audience and few distractions. In the course of the discussion I shared that although I know its not good, I often hope that the seat next to me will be empty. I look at plane rides as an opportunity to process, not convert. I don’t like getting into discussions with strangers at a party let alone getting into theological discourses when escape options are limited. I happened to be taking a business trip that week and several people irresistibly teased me that they were going to keep me accountable about the opportunity. I steadfastly maintained that the likelihood that I would start a revival mid-flight was slim to none.
It turns out that my entire row was empty on the outbound flight so I no need to fear. But the lesson from the discussion remains. And I think that if I had the view of people that God had my motivation would change. It’s not that I don’t share with people my beliefs because I’m fearful of their rejection; at least that’s not the entire story. More likely I’m fearful of presuming to know their needs when I mostly obviously don’t know their lives. The proper perspective would consider this: Jesus was rejected more completely than I could ever be and that while I might not know their lives, the need they have is universal. Spurgeon once stated, ” If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” My efforts may be in vain, but let them know be unattempted for expansion of Christ’s kingdom should be my primary aim.
Some may wonder what happened on my plane trip home. In God’s great humor, He arranged it so that I was sitting next to a long-time family friend who happened to be on the same flight. Our discussions about God were more genuine and more vulnerable than could have ever taken place with a stranger. I also believe that they will prove fruitful in the end. It goes to show, even when our intentions may be the complete opposite, God can use us for His purposes