Leather jackets, tattoos, pierced eyebrows, spiked hair, rough denim, rough couple. Navy suit, starched shirt, clean-cut, striped tie, Bible-toting preacher. These three found themselves travelling together for just a few minutes on an elevator.
The preacher spoke first. “Well, I don’t suppose we are going to the same meeting.” The couple laughed and conversation began. The couple were headed to a tattoo artists’ convention. The pastor was headed to a conservative evangelical ministry meeting. The couple invited the pastor to stop by the convention when he had a chance.
Rev. Jim Smith, the pastor in the elevator, thanked them and headed out to his meeting. When the meeting was over, Rev. Maxie Dunnam invited Smith to get a cup of coffee. Smith told him about the invitation and the two headed to the tattoo convention.
When they arrived, they were greeted by an older man covered in tattoos. He recognized that they had little experience with tattoos, so he invited them to look around as his guests. Putting out his right arm, he showed them a picture of Jesus tattooed onto his forearm.
“Jesus was the son of God,” he said. “His Father sent him into the world to be our savior. He died on the cross to forgive our sins and was raised from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is praying for you.” He then asked his two guests, “Have you ever heard this story before?”
The two men were amazed at the clear, simple presentation of the Gospel. They told him they were Methodist pastors. “Praise God! You’re my brothers!” He exclaimed. Then he hugged them right there in the convention hall.
I first read this story about fifteen years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. I love how willing this man is to share his faith. No questions, no worries, no hesitation, no fears. He just tells people about Jesus. It doesn’t matter that the people he is talking to don’t look like him. It doesn’t matter that they just met. It doesn’t matter that he will likely never see them again. He simply tells them about Jesus.
We have talked about the great commissions Jesus gave his disciples. “Go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” “You will be my witnesses to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” We are sent out in Jesus’ name to proclaim Good News to the whole world. It’s the teaching of Jesus we struggle with the most. But it’s not really as hard as we’ve made it out to be.
Jesus was the son of God. His Father sent him into the world to be our savior. He died on the cross to forgive our sins and was raised from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is praying for you. Have you ever heard this story before?
Four statements and a question. That’s just how simple it is. Now, practice that last paragraph a few times. Get it in your mind and heart. And be ready for the Holy Spirit to ask you to share those words with someone this week.