"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Fair Lesson in Evangelism

I took my annual trip to the fair last week with 3 of my girlfriends. We've been doing this day for a good 8 or 9 years now, and it's become a priority for all of us. Just a day to which we look forward. Basically, it's more of a progressive meal down the midway, and our first stop is always the fried cheese.
Traci had not made it yet; obviously we didn't wait on her to eat.

For lunch, which took place about 20 minutes after the fried cheese, we had a fried pork tenderloin sandwich, fried vegetables, and a corndog. Split 3 ways, of course. Kim wanted to go ahead and get a cinnamon roll but we said that it might be a good idea to wait on that for the time being.

But amidst all the talking and catching up, we were able to take in some attractions, too. The petting zoo, for one.
And the Tams concert.
Here's Traci adding a little color to the Slide.

The original "Tam" who played at my college dance in the 1978 is now 75 years old. His son carries on the legacy.

It was an absolutely beautiful day to ride the ferris wheel.
And, of course, there was the Sea Lion show.

Yes, these are real sea lions. And they stunk.

Somewhere in there we also ate soft ice cream on a cone, and before leaving, shared a funnel cake while watching the water ski show.

So what about the "ordinary moment"? It actually happened while we were taking a "break." I had plopped myself down on a bench outside the facilities to guard the water bottles while the other girls were doing their "breaking." And there I saw it. I took a couple of pictures, but out of respect decided not to post them. Truly, what I saw should have blessed me; rather it turned my stomach. It was a tent turned tabernacle; and outside were a young man and a woman "enticing" young people to come in and hear a story -- "It only takes 5 minutes" -- and after doing so, receive a free gift. Of course, the story was the story of salvation given in 5 easy steps. The free gift was a sucker. Please don't get me wrong. I esteem highly all those whose desire was to see people come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus. What disturbed me so was the tactic. That young man standing outside the doors was more like a hawker peddling his goods, yelling mainly to unsupervised children and teenagers as they passed by. In fact, it reminded me even more of the "carnies" on the midway enticing fair-goers to toss a ring over a bottle or shoot a basketball through an undersized hoop all for a worthless trinket. It just didn't set well with me.

I sat and watched for quite awhile, even urging my girlfriends to sit a moment and take in what was happening. Most often what we saw were young people leaving the tent no different than when they went in; maybe just more eager to head to their next venture -- with sucker in hand. I made the comment to my friends that I wasn't sure this was the correct way to go about evangelism; however, if just one life was truly changed, then it was worth it. And so we moved on. And we came upon this:As we passed by this tent, an older gentle sitting just inside the awning and out of the sun said, "May I fill up that bottle for you with some ice water?" I thanked him and told him that would be nice. He filled it up just as he offered; we chatted a minute, and then in a very gentle voice he said, "I just have one question for you. Do you know the Living Water?"

"Yes, sir, I do."

As my friends and I departed the tent and headed toward the sea lions, I looked at them and said, "He got it right, girls." That was the Spirit of Jesus.

Just an ordinary moment...


Joey said...

I love the last part. Yes I do!

rebekah a. said...

Humbly offering to meet a practical need, gently offering our greatest One.