We moved from a huge metropolitan area to the woods of Maine several years ago. It is difficult to witness to the people here, but we don’t give up. I see every person I meet as a possible soul that one day I will be walking and talking with on the streets of gold. When I meet a new person, I always think, Are you the one? Are you the one who wants to know Jesus? We have back copies of LandMarks that we keep in our car, along with other Biblical tracts to use as witnessing tools.
Are you the one? Those four little words have special importance to me because one day I had one of the most important witnessing experiences of my life when “are you the one?” had special significance. I have lived and worked in a big city for most of my life. There was a length of time when I could not find a job, which was strange because the work I did had always been very much in demand. But during this span of time there was a slowdown in jobs for almost a year and an issue from my previous employer seemed to hold me back. [I later realized, of course, that God is always on time, and I was exactly where I was supposed to be at the exact time I was to be there.] I was in God’s waiting room.
To advance my job hunting efforts, I put an ad in a major newspaper in the positions wanted section, twice. I didn’t give up. After the second ad I got a phone call from a woman who asked me to come in for an interview. The interview went well, and it seemed we liked each other right away. During the interview process I was introduced to the owner. I wanted to be very up front with him, and I quickly told him that I had a difficult time getting a job over the past several months due to employment agencies not wanting to recommend me because of the bad reputation of my former employer. The owner looked at me and said, “Oh, I know Leo, don’t worry about him.” I was so amazed at his comment and I thought it a miracle that suddenly out of the blue, the worry that I had concerning my employment was just swept away in a moment’s comment. I asked myself, how in this city of millions of people could I come in contact with the one person who knew my former employer, and probably many things about him, that caused him to make such a timely comment. God had His plan, and things moved forward quickly. I was hired after competing with another applicant for the same position.
The first week I was there my boss started asking me what I believed about God, and why I believed it. We had several deep conversations throughout the days ahead, as she became more and more interested in my beliefs. She had a great thirst for spiritual knowledge, and I sensed in her a desperate need to know what was truth and what wasn’t and the wisdom to know the difference. She was a very educated person and I remember feeling surprised to learn that she didn’t believe Jesus was the Son of God, but rather that He was just a teacher.
Day after day I laid out for her all the truth I knew that I had stored up for decades in my mind and in my heart. I was even surprised at my own words and the way that I was able to reveal the Kingdom of God to her. We know that when we witness to others, God will give us the words to say, and how to say them to meet their special needs. During my witnessing to her, the ability that I suddenly had to outline basic Biblical truth was nothing short of remarkable, as I give all the credit to the Holy Spirit. I am certainly not the most talented or smartest person, but I believe God sent me to this situation because He knew I would open my mouth and tell her what she had for so many years longed to hear.
I realized early on that my boss was a reader and perhaps that is how she grasped new information best, so I supplemented our talks with several Spirit of Prophecy books and a few others. It seemed after our many conversations that we didn’t talk as much about spiritual issues for several weeks. During these weeks I was anxious and pondering what the outcome would be while I continued praying for Jesus to intervene in her life. I soon found out she was reading all the books I gave her. She was reading herself right into the truth which I was not aware of until one morning about three months later she walked into the office and said to me, “There really is nowhere else to go after reading Ellen White and the Bible is there?” Shortly thereafter she became a Seventh-day Adventist. Although initially it was a problem for the owner because now we both had to leave before sunset on Fridays, but what could he say – he was Jewish!
During the years to come her job allowed her to daily meet many new people. She witnessed to prospective and new tenants always giving them literature. She had so many opportunities to witness because she was in charge of renting out small office spaces in a very old, dingy but huge office building where there were so many spaces to be leased and where tenants were continually moving in and out.
My friend was on a fast track. With God’s help she had made the most important discovery of her life and it was as though she was making up for all her years without Jesus. She wasn’t just showing those small old office spaces that these new tenants would occupy, but she was witnessing to them about the space they could occupy in their heavenly home. She exemplified the growing Christian, as she was filled, so she gave with a grateful heart to others the word of God and the great hope she had in Jesus. She took off all her jewelry, stopped dying her hair and her sometimes stern intense countenance turned to a look of happiness and joy. Her conversion and transformation was clear for all to see. Jesus changed her from the inside out. I saw in her freedom from entanglements and peace that she had never had before. “By beholding we become changed” never had more significance for me as it did in watching her spiritual growth. The owner one day asked me to come into his office and inquired, “What did you do to her?” I told him I shared the Gospel with her and there was not anywhere else to go in this conversation because she and I had both tried to share the Gospel with him and he did not want to know about Christ. However, what happened at a later time showed that her conversion made some impact on him.
My friend didn’t live a long life; a sudden illness took her quickly. I only knew her for 15 years, but she was in this world long enough to find the loving God that she had so longed to know. She followed Him as long as she could and led others to find the same hope of Christ in them. If we really knew the time we had on this earth how earnest our efforts would be to share the love of Jesus to others. Although many times our lives are filled with difficulties and uncertainty, doesn’t it make the most sense that through it all we should stay focused – to put our efforts into what really matters the most, sharing the love of God? Shouldn’t this be our single most important work and joy?
When I went to her funeral, it was awe inspiring to see so many people there. I later realized I may have been the only one that knew how and why so many were there to say their good-byes. I believe the overflow of these people to be the souls that she so faithfully witnessed to while going about her daily routine of renting office space. She used to come back from showing spaces relating to me how she gave this material and that piece of literature to those prospective tenants. She was visibly happy in the Lord to be going about His business in her daily routine.
Several people got up to speak at her funeral. One of them was the owner, who spoke eloquently of her attributes and hard work and told how she had contributed to his business and to him personally in the span of more than 20 years she had worked for him. I was so amazed and touched that he did this. I then realized that through her reliance and steadfastness he acknowledged in such a beautiful way that she ran the race well.
I am so looking forward to seeing my friend in heaven one day. She had a short time to know the Lord, but she used the remaining time she had here efficiently and wisely for God’s work. I am looking forward to saying to her, “My friend, in our life on earth, ‘You were the one.’ And praise be to God you took God’s message to heart and to others, you held your candle high in this dark world for as long as you could for others to receive the light of the world, Jesus Christ.”
In our heavenly home I believe that we will have conversations with others when we will not say to them, “Are you the one?” but, instead, “You were the one!” My prayer is that we will have many people to say that to in the Kingdom of God. In the grave we can do nothing. We must do it today while there is still time.
Rise in the morning, praying to God that one soul will be put in your path that day who may want to join you on the heavenly journey to the Kingdom. Recognize during the course of your day that while you may only be going through your daily routine or common errands, God may have gone before you to put a person right in your path, that one person who wants to know the true and living God. God has many opportunities for us as we go through our daily life, if we only recognize them. If you do, life will become very exciting. Whether your witnessing experience turns out to be one minute or one hour, share with them the word of God and the words that God has given you to say to them.
I have often asked myself, Where do I want to be in 100 years? My answer is always Heaven. If this is true, then I must stay on the heaven bound course every minute, every hour, every day while I am still here and while I am yet able to work for Jesus. Not just taking opportunities for witnessing, but making opportunities for witnessing, being friendly to others, talking to people and helping them with their burdens. Witnessing experiences not only bless the person you are witnessing to, but you are blessed also by voicing out loud your testimony of Christ and what He has done for you personally.
Just yesterday I walked into a fabric store and started a conversation with a woman right next to me. We were both about 40 miles from home but it turned out that she lived not far from me. We got into a conversation and I quickly learned that she was a Christian attending a Sunday church but she stated that she had read The Great Controversy and believed it. She believed in keeping the 7th day Sabbath. I was amazed that this complete stranger was so open and had so much to tell me of her beliefs within just a few minutes. She had questions about hell, which I answered. She was a hospice nurse and tried to lead many dying souls to Jesus in their final hours. I hope to be meeting with her soon.
Stay ready to witness and it will surprise you how many are out there that the Lord will lead you to. Be prepared by having the word of God in your heart and mind, having faith that God will bring to your remembrance the words you need for that specific person for that time of witnessing. Have literature always ready to give them.
“Life is too solemn to be absorbed in temporal or earthly matters. The Lord desires that we shall communicate to others that which the eternal and unseen communicates to us.
“Every year millions upon millions of human souls are passing into eternity unwarned and unsaved. From hour to hour in our varied life opportunities to reach and save souls are opened to us. These opportunities are continually coming and going. God desires us to make the most of them. Days, weeks and months are passing; we have one day, one week, one month less in which to do our work. A few more years at the longest, and the voice which we cannot refuse to answer will be heard saying, ‘Give an account of thy stewardship’ (Luke 16:2).” Christ’s Object Lessons, 373, 374.
To all who claim to be under the banner of Christ, this is our final hour on this earth but it can be our finest hour if we do all for Jesus now. Whatever your past, redeem the time – with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
Remember, it is not only what we tell others, but what we show others. Do they see Jesus in us, wanting to know more? Do they go away questioning, wanting what we have?
As I compose this article on my computer, every few paragraphs I click the save icon, so that if there is a power outage I will still have what I have written; so it is with the word of God. Store it in your heart, in your mind, putting on the whole armor of God so one day in a physical or spiritual power outage you will have the love and power of God so deeply embedded within you that you will ever remember the Bible passages you have learned and the experiences of faith of prior years that have encouraged you along the way, for the days of trial surely lie ahead for all true Christians.
The next time you meet a stranger and you are in that moment of indecision of what to say, ask yourself, Are you the one? Are you waiting for me to tell you about Jesus? As that wonderful old hymn goes, “Throw out the life line to someone today” (Edwin S. Ufford, 1888). Jesus is waiting on you to tell them. Speak, have faith, and know that God will give you the words to say.
P.S. Oh, and that large dingy office building in which my friend so diligently did her work for Jesus – it has been renovated into one of the most gorgeous hotels in the city. Such a fitting tribute to this woman of faith.