August 2, 2004

Encouragement for Today

 

“A First-Class Opportunity”

 

Ginger Plowman

Author, Speaker, Assistant Director of Networking with Proverbs 31 Ministries

 

Key Verse: 

 

“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”  Matthew 9:37 (NIV)

 

Devotion: 

 

I knew something strange was going on when I couldn’t find my seat. After combing the isles of the Delta airplane two times, seat assignment in hand, I was convinced I had lost my mind. Was I on the wrong plane? Would I wind up in China, rather than Florida? Would a voice announce over the intercom, “You have now entered the twilight zone?”

Embarrassed that someone who flies as often as I do was not capable of finding her seat, I quietly asked the stewardess for assistance. “No wonder you can’t find your seat,” she replied after studying my ticket. “Your seat is in first class, not back here.” I assured her there must be some mistake, as I would never take out a second mortgage on our home in order to fly first class.

She escorted me to the front of the plane, commissioned me to a leather reclining seat and offered me a Pepsi. Bewildered by my good fortune and intrigued by the many luxurious gadgets in which the first class indulge, I began to investigate my options for play. I resolved to take full advantage of my stroke of luck before the air police realized the mistake and ushered me back to my rightful place.

As I reclined, scanned through the channels on my personal pull-out television, slurped my Pepsi and started to make a call from my complimentary telephone, the gentleman sitting beside me began to squirm. It was obvious he was sitting next to an amateur first-classer, and an obnoxious one at that.

After answering several of my “What’s this thing do?” questions, he glanced back toward the direction in which I had come and stated in a heavy Latin accent, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone board first class from the back of the plane.” I explained that my sitting in first class was some sort of mistake. He didn’t seem surprised.

Ten minutes into our conversation, I learned that the man was a vice president with one of the world’s largest Fortune 500 companies, a perfectionist, a philosopher and a multimillionaire. He was overconfident and extremely intelligent. He knew what he wanted out of life, and he got it -- or so it seemed.

I decided that sharing the Gospel with this man would be a waste of time. He was simply out of my league intellectually, financially and socially. I silently vowed to keep the conversation casual. I listened with interest as he told about his line of work. My plan was working.

Then suddenly, the tables turned. He asked me about my occupation.

After telling him about my ministry of writing and speaking on biblical principles, he asked, “So, what brought you to a point of becoming religious?” So much for my plan. How could I not witness to this man who viewed my Jesus, the Savior who bled and died for me, as nothing more than a religion?

I jumped in with both feet. I shared my testimony of how Jesus rescued a rebellious, promiscuous, alcohol-abusing teenager from the grip of hell and brought her to a place of peace, joy and contentment.

He listened intently. Then with tears streaming down his face, he asked how to become a Christian. I told him. As the plane landed, my millionaire friend proclaimed, “You have given me such a gift. I want to do something for you. What is something that you need or want? Whatever you request, I will do it for you.”

The temptation was heavy and dark. A new car, a new house, a condo at the beach and visions of sugarplums danced in my head.

Then another voice interrupted my thoughts. It was a voice from deep within, a voice that I recognized and obeyed. “What would bring me the greatest pleasure is to know that as a result of our meeting, you are seeking the Lord with all your heart. My request is that you read the Book of John.” With fresh tears and a warm handshake, he gave me his word.

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” the Lord says. It’s a common misconception to think that we must raise support, fly halfway around the world and sleep in a grass hut on a dirt floor in order to witness to the lost. The harvest is everywhere. It’s at the checkout counter in Wal-Mart, standing in line at the grocery or hardware store, in your workplace, on an airplane and around your kitchen table.

If we are willing, God is able. He will provide the opportunities for those who seek them. Let us be willing to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ anytime and anywhere. You might be surprised at where you wind up. I don’t know about you, but I could get used to leather recliners and unlimited Pepsi.

 

My prayer for today: 

 

Lord, I want to be ready to give an answer for the faith I have in you at anytime.  Pease prompt me to tell others about you and give me the words to say that I might bring glory to you.

 

Application steps:

 

Determine to tell at least one person about Jesus this week.  Pick a couple of verses to memorize that will enable you to tell that person about the salvation of Christ. 

 

Reflection points:

 

When is the last time I told someone about Jesus?

 

How many people have come to Christ as a result of my obedience in sharing the gospel?

 

Who do I know that needs Jesus?

 

When would be a good time for me to witness to that person?

 

Power verses:

 

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

 

John 13:35 A new command I give to you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

 

John 15:8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

 

Acts 1:8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

 

Additional resources:

 

Leading Woman to the Heart of God by Lysa Terkeurst

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/leadingwomen.html

 

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa Terkeurst

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/radical.html