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“in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified.”Titus 2:7
I recall working as a stock-boy at a local retail store in my late teens. I remember a young woman, probably in her early 20s, who worked in the shoe department, and she always seemed to be snarky and defensive. Each evening, about an hour before closing, I would always collect the empty boxes throughout the store, take them out back, break them down, and throw them in the dumpster. Whenever I would pick up the empty boxes from her department, I would say hello, but her response would always be cold and short for no apparent reason.
The memory brought to mind the time when Jesus encountered a woman who was also somewhat cold, snarky, and short. All Jesus did was ask her for a drink of water from the well she was about to draw. Her response was defensive but not disrespectful. She asked Him how he, being a Jew, was speaking to her, a Samaritan woman, because Jews despised the Samaritans, as they were a society of intermixed marriages. However, Jesus never took offense; he continued to be polite and engaged in the conversation– He was being genuine. As the conversation progressed, He won her trust, and she believed.
As for the young woman I once knew, one evening, I had just finished breaking down all the boxes and throwing them in the dumpster, or so I thought until she brought out several more. When she unloaded the boxes off of her cart, I said, “Thank you.” She said, “Well, next time you can get them yourself!” and stormed off back into the store. I stood there confounded as to what warranted such a response. Then, I ran after her, and when I caught up to her, I said, “I truly meant thank you. Thank you, for bring out the boxes.” She seemed caught off guard, taken back by what I said. She saw that I was genuine, and from that point, we became friends.
When I think about that memory, along with the story about the Samaritan woman and consider how many Christians share the gospel today, no wonder people are cold and unresponsive to hearing the good news about Jesus Christ. When we follow a simple script or read straight from a gospel track, where is the sincerity, the genuine interest in the person we are trying to reach? Sharing the gospel and making disciples is about building authentic, engaging relationships. When others see the sincerity of your open heart, they will be more receptive to hearing the gospel because they see the true interest you have in their spiritual well-being. Now, let’s set out to go and build a new eternal friendship today.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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