Thought for the Month (January 2009)

What do you conjure up in your mind when 'Evangelism' is mentioned?

Since I read a wonderful true story, I think of a Volvo Estate. Are you sitting comfortably? Then let the story beginů

A man living in a relatively affluent area (let's call him Simon) once noticed his neighbour looking a little crest-fallen. He stopped to ask why, and was told the sad story. The neighbour was due to go on holiday the next day, but his daughter had just crashed the family car, and they could no longer go. Simon then offered the use of their family car, a Volvo estate. The neighbour thought the offer could not possibly be serious, so declined, but when pressed further, gradually realised that the offer was real. Slightly amazed, he took it up and the next day drove the Volvo estate off in the direction of the coast, waved off by Simon and his family.

All holiday he could not get out of his mind he generosity of his friend, for whom the car seemed something incidental to be loaned and risked, rather than something to be guarded and kept pristine, as most people did in their neighbourhood.

When he returned, he couldn't help asking why Simon had done it. The answer came back that it was because he was a Christian, that he had learned that all their possessions were not really theirs at all, but God's, and were to be used generously for others as well as themselves. The neighbour was intrigued and began to ask why he had become a Christian. Simon explained the story of his own journey to faith simply. Over the next few weeks, more discussions took place, and questions arose. Simon confessed in rather an embarrassed fashion that he wasn't that good at answering them all, but that his church knew of an Alpha course that gave people a chance to ask any question, and explore Christian faith for themselves.

To cut a long story short, intrigued by this liberating approach to life and possessions, the neighbour eventually became a Christian.

To me, this is Evangelism at its best. Happy New Year!

Eric Christian

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church