From Windshield To Witness
By Ken James
Several years ago (more than I care to count) I was traveling from Houston to my home in Gregory, Texas. In a small town, I pulled into a service station for some gasoline. The attendant (I said it was several years ago), after positioning the flowing fuel nozzle in my tank, began to clean my windshield. In an attempt to be nice, I asked him how he was doing. I will never forget his reply: “I’m doing fine now, but there was a time when my life was as dirty as your bug-infested windshield.”
He didn’t say another word as he continued to clean the windshield. I “took the bait” and asked him what he meant by his statement. Without missing a lick on the completion of his chore, he said, “Well, my life was a dirty mess, until Jesus Christ cleaned me up.” Then, he was silent. I asked him to tell me how that happened.
He then, of course, shared a very simple testimony of his conversion experience, which he concluded by asking me if anything like that had happened to me. You can imagine the mutual joy we shared as I told him of my own conversion experience and of my continual growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
As I pulled away from that service station, I began to reflect on my experience with that attendant. I wondered how many folks he witnessed to during a normal day. I have never forgotten how he so easily and naturally engaged me in a witnessing encounter. Although I don’t remember his name, I learned a lot from him that has found application in my life, and which I have used to encourage others to be witnesses to their faith in Christ.
First of all, he was an example of one who lived to share his faith. In retrospect, I realized that he was a man who, without shirking his responsibilities to pump gas and clean windshields, lived to share the story of his life-changing encounter with Christ. He saw each person he came in contact with as a divine appointment, and sought to engage him in a spiritual dialogue.
Secondly, he did not force himself on me. I believe that he knew that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to draw men to Christ. His silence, after each statement of testimony, indicated to me that he was simply giving the Holy Spirit total access to the situation. He knew that if God was working in the hearts of those with whom he shared his opening statement it would be revealed as they would request for him to explain the meaning of his statement.
Finally, he was a person who exemplified what it means to live a balanced life of being in the world but not of it. He was in touch with the world he lived in, but he lived in it with a heavenly perspective. He was deliberate in engaging others in a witnessing opportunity, without being “brassy” or “threatening”.
Try it. The next time someone asks you, “How are you?” say, “I’m fine now, but there was a time when… (fill in the blank).” Then go silent and let the Holy Spirit do His work. Perhaps you will discover a divine appointment.
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