When we share our stories and our convictions and our thoughts on our own spiritual journey, our friends can start to understand and consider their own lives through a lens of faith. What’s your story? Are you willing to open up and share it with your friends?
What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:12-14
We met some people at the resort we stayed at recently – they are a couple in their late fifties who are retired. They seem to travel much of the year and enjoy the fruits of a good working life. They never had children and so their lifestyle bears the marks of not spending most of their resources on the costs of kids (which are many).
We talked resorts and holidays and industry, seeing them at the beach or at the bar before dinner. I had shared some of my work history with him and it was perplexing to him: how did you make the transition from telecom/technology into nonprofit work?
That was the trigger. He flipped the God Working Story switch. I have been asked that question hundreds of times in every situation imaginable and I have had the resulting opportunity to share my story that many times. When you hand over your life, including your career, to God, he does amazing things. He works. And that God Working story must be shared into the lives of others…
I told him of my process of annual prayer and reflection in which I asked God where I should be, and how God provided for me a path which was clear and compelling. I shared how I had been offered a position with a ministry, yet after prayer and consideration, I felt led to first turn that offer down, and then go and ask for a position to be created for me at the organization I felt God calling me to. I have been working at that organization now for over ten years. When you line up with God’s direction, he makes your path straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
My new friend was having a problem with the math – it wasn’t computing for him. Who, when unemployed, turns down a very good job to go and ask for a job where there isn’t one? Someone who takes steps of faith does stuff like that. He was still looking for a worldly explanation. Many times, the spiritual interactions and motivations we have don’t compute for others because these are the things of the Holy Spirit. The why doesn’t make sense because they discern through worldly thought and not through the Spirit.
He said it sounded like a good negotiating strategy. How so? He asked if the CEO knew I had turned down the other job first – he did know, and his own belief that God has a plan for us all led him to ask the Lord himself. We don’t negotiate with God. We take steps of faith toward him.
A couple of days later he saw me on my phone in the morning. He said, “for the first few days I never saw your phone. Now you must be getting back into work mode.” Ahhh, you have the wrong guy… I’ll look at my inbox on the flight back to clear things out. The reason I have my phone out is that every morning I read from the Bible and write about what I’m reading. Huh? Do you have particular things you are reading about or looking for? I told him my practice and how I maintain a blog everyday to hold me to my reading.
Sometimes the process of sharing the gospel is letting people experience your interaction with God from the outside looking in. When we share our stories and our convictions and our thoughts on our own spiritual journey, our friends can start to understand and consider their own lives through a lens of faith.
My friend was knee-deep in my story and I could tell he was trying to figure out this strange world of faith… Holy Spirit, open up his mind to consider your presence in this world and his life…