by Jessica Leep Fick
Sometimes, I’m amazed at the lessons I can learn from my son Ozzy’s Kindergarten class. Basic reminders like “use kind words” “don’t interrupt” and “listen to directions” can easily be forgotten in the busy, adult world.
The lessons he is learning as a 5-year-old often hit me with profound simplicity of how Jesus invites us to demonstrate the gospel. They bring me back to what it means to engage someone with the gospel.
Recently, one of Ozzy’s classmates created a spontaneous show-and-tell moment for the class. She and her dad were on a walk when they came across a baby turtle. A baby turtle! What a delight! How could she not share it with the rest of her classmates? Although the teacher hadn’t planned to have a show-and-tell time, she was excited for the rest of the class to see the turtle and made space for delight and discovery.
I wonder how many of us are willing to do the same? Each day, we have the same opportunities to practice the joy of delight and discovery. As Jesus invites us into His presence, we begin to notice people a bit more.
We become more in tune with His desire for uninterrupted time with each one of us as He guides us into mission. We slow down to discover what He is doing around us rather than racing by. We stop and ask questions. We invite people to delight and discover with us.
Sometimes, this invitation looks simple: taking time to talk with someone while waiting to pick up young children at school, pursuing a relationship with someone at work and inviting them to lunch to get to know them better, listening without interrupting.
For many who feel rushed and unheard in today’s culture, the power of listening can be one of the best ways we engage others with the gospel. As we listen, we learn about people’s concerns, stresses, and what they are excited about. In the listening, we begin to see the places where Jesus is at work, whether it is heightening their need for community and connection, or searching for something beyond the blur of an overscheduled life.
Recently, my husband and I went on a picnic with some friends who are occasional churchgoers who we are beginning to get to know. We watched our kids explore the park together and talked about jobs, school, the stress of raising kids, and what we are eager to see happen in our lives, whether it is answers to the hard questions in our lives or in the lives of the people we know.
Sometimes, the things we discover as we spend time with others is painful and don’t have answers. Other times, we’re invited to share in celebrating good news in their lives—a new job, a child learning to obey, a rekindled friendship. Whichever one it is, it’s key to be present to discover how God is working in their lives and how the gospel message connects with them. What are their passions? What are their fears? Ask yourself, “How does Jesus want to make Himself known to these friends?”
It’s likely that someone around you needs to “show and tell” you about what is going on in their lives. It’s likely that you won’t have a baby turtle brought to your next staff meeting, potluck, or pilates class; however, celebrating and mourning together are part of the ways that Jesus demonstrates His love and delight for us.
As we spend time with friends, neighbors, and strangers, we too are able to “show and tell” why we follow Jesus as Lord in difficult and delightful times. Because they’ll know our lives and stories, they will be able to see what the gospel lived out looks like in everyday ways.
When Jesus was calling His first disciples, the answers He gave to their questions were “come and see.” It isn’t a complicated strategy, but it does require a willingness to be present to people.
Jessica Leep Fick (@JessicaLeepFick) is the national director of Evangelism Resources for Stonecroft Ministries which is committed to reaching every woman “where she is + as she is.” She is author of Beautiful Feet: Unleashing Women to Everyday Witness. Jessica is married to Dave and enjoys exploring Kansas City with their two sons.