For the past 12 days we have had a booth at the Minnesota State Fair. It’s an opportunity for us to spread our message (namely, the Gospel of Jesus Christ) and reach more people. One thing that was reiterated to me during my time spent at the booth is that “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” I met with all types there: young people, old people, veterans, blacks, whites, “weirdos”, kids, families, and one particularly angry woman. But most of all, I love it when the Lord uses me to take people through the Law of God to show them their transgressions (Isaiah 58:1) and their need for a savior. I’d like to share a couple of my encounters with you.
As I was in the midst of passing out Gospel tracks to passersby, I noticed a vibrant group of, what appeared to me to be, college students. They looked like a fun crowd, so I stopped them.
There were three guys and two girls in their group. After I tricked them with an optical illusion Gospel tract, I then proceeded to take them through the “good test” (as we call it) to see if they were “good people” according to God’s standard through His moral Law (the Ten Commandments).
Of course, they admitted to being liars, thieves, and adulterers at heart after going through only three of the Ten Commandments, but it was one guy’s attentive heart and willingness to sincerely listen to what I was saying that struck me. Keep in mind that this was the guy in the middle of the pack, having fun with his friends with what seemed like a beer in his hands, having a grand old time, yet when faced with the conviction of his sin through the Law of God, was so receptive. After hearing the truth, he was sober and taking it seriously.
The seemingly “party guy” was listening to the truth because it struck a chord in his heart. He was genuinely receptive to the truth (even after the girls had left them and said, “C’mon let’s go!”). The Law of God and the proper way for the Gospel to be presented was being shown to him in a common sense way, and the Holy Spirit was doing His work. You can’t judge a book by its cover!
Another encounter I had at the fair was with a smaller group of three people. This group was open to hearing the Gospel message (Law, Judgment, Mercy, and Faith) as well. You know how you can be talking to someone, but you’re really talking to someone else who’s not talking? Let me explain:
I began by talking to one nice “beer in hand” woman named Sarah. However, there was man named Kevin right next to her who I felt like what I was saying was maybe more for him, even though he didn’t say much. I went through the commandments and explained to them (after they were shown their guilt before God by those commandments) the good news of the Gospel and how Jesus Christ paid the price for their sins (their transgression of God’s Law) on the cross.
I also explained how that when they repent and turn from their sins and trust in Christ, the blood of Christ washes and cleanses them from their sins, and that when they stand before God on
Judgment Day, He would see Jesus (His Son) within them and not they themselves. It is Christ who justifies us and not we ourselves!
What impressed me about this crowd was that they were in no hurry to leave. They stayed and listed to everything I said without the I-wanna-get-out-of-here-feeling you get from some, but they were content to listen. In fact, it was I who gave the goodbye before they did and said, “Have fun at the fair!” I could go on with more, but the point here is people are hungry for the truth! More than you even might realize.
I was also reminded of this fact while standing in a long line waiting to get some cookies at the fair. People were lined up (in long lines) to get these cookies. It didn’t matter how much they cost because the people were hungry for them. They wanted these cookies so much that they would go to extreme lengths to stand in huge, long, barely-moving lines, in the sun, to spend lots of money on something because they were hungry for it!
I thought, wouldn’t it be great if people were this hungry to hear the truth? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were such a spiritual hunger in America that people would literally stand in line to hear the truth and what they must do to be saved? The problem is, people are starving and they don’t even know it. They are on the road to damnation and a lot of them don’t even have a clue. If they were to die tonight, most of them would end up in hell. Why? Because people do not love each other enough to tell others the truth.
You don’t have to go on a mission trip to some distant remote land to preach the Gospel. You don’t have to have a booth at the fair, a church with a large congregation, or even be on the radio to preach to people. The Lord tells us in Psalms 81:10 to “…open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” All the Lord is looking for is an obedient vessel willing to open their mouth and speak to others.
If you go to a gas station to get gas, the Lord can use you. If you go to a grocery store to get your groceries, the Lord can use you. If you go to school, the Lord can use you. If you take your kids to play at a playground, the Lord can use you. If you are living and breathing, no matter what your circumstances are, the Lord can use you.
People are dying, and without your witness they may end up in hell for eternity. You might be the only chance to hear the Gospel that some may have. You do not have to be talented, popular, good looking, or ever have won a “congeniality contest” for God to use you. All you have to do is open your mouth wide and let him fill it!
Some of the hardest looking people to you on the outside, are the softest on the inside. Those you may think will shrug you off are literally searching for a God who is real. Who knows if they were in their bed crying out to God the night before, asking for the Lord to show Himself to them?! The true and living God; not the god they see in a 15-minute sermon on a Sunday morning, or in the form of a dead religion that they grew up with.
No, they are hungry for a living God, the Bread of Life who can satisfy their hunger and whom they can love in return, but how will they hear unless there is a preacher? Romans 10:14 says, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”
Will you be that preacher?
Jesus said “Go” ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). All you need to do is be obedient to “go” and “preach” and let the Holy Spirit do the rest!