Every once in a while I wake up with one eye swollen shut. I have no idea why. It just happens.
The last time that it happened to me was on February 9. I know it was on February 9 because I was leading worship at a big event in Scottsdale, AZ. There is nothing quite like standing in front of a group of people, looking at them with your one good eye, and trying to lead them in worship while looking like I was a part of a bar room brawl the night before…
This morning, just like on February 9, I woke up with my right eye completely and unexplainably swollen shut. Unfortunately for me, I am right eye dominant, so having my right eye swollen shut seems to throw off my depth perception, my balance, and my ability to concentrate well and think clearly.
Oh well… You still got to run…
I put on a pair of Goodr sunglasses and went out for a little stroll around the block. Running on the road against the traffic with my right eye closed meant that I could hardly see the cars zipping by. That always provides an uneasy, eerie feeling. Combined with the fact that my face felt like it had a liquid sack attached to my right eye socket, bouncing with every step, made me feel like this was going to be a less-than-enjoyable run.
I was wrong.
It was a great run.
I was listening to the #5kMay2020 (Day 3) Podcast while I ran, and I was blessed again by Greg Stier’s commentary on Matthew 9. I ran past a guy who was walking in the opposite direction, pushing a child in a stroller, while Greg was saying something about pausing your run to share the gospel. I thought, Yeah. That’s a great idea. I was going to stop and share the gospel with the guy on the road, but as I got closer, looking at him with my one good eye (located awkwardly on the wrong side of my face), I realized that he was also wearing headphones. I decided that it wasn’t going to be such a great idea to pause my run and interrupt his walk, potentially pausing his podcast (or whatever he was listening to), and likely causing the child in the stroller to become agitated.
So I just ran on by…
For the next several hundred feet, I felt like a failure. I should have stopped…
I decided that I wouldn’t make that same mistake next time. If I saw anyone else out on my run, I was going to share the gospel with them.
I was still listening to the podcast, but then it started cutting out… and suddenly it stopped altogether. That is strange. At about that same time, I noticed someone several hundred feet ahead of me, standing in the street. I couldn’t quite recognize who it was, but I determined that I was going to stop and share the gospel with them, no matter who it was.
As I got closer, I realized that the man was talking to someone else. Well, I don’t want to interrupt their conversation… No. forget that. I’m not getting talked out of it this time. As I got closer, I checked for traffic behind me and ran over to where they were. I paused my watch and asked how they were doing.
By now I realized that I actually did know the guy who was standing in the street. I actually go to church with him. I didn’t know the guy that he was talking to, though. So I told them that I am doing this crazy #5kMay2020 challenge and just finished my third day 5k. I told them I am also challenging myself to share the gospel with at least one person every day in the month of May. I asked if they had ever heard the gospel (I knew that the one guy had, but I didn’t know about the other). The man whom I didn’t know seemed unsure of how to answer. So I asked if I could share the good news of the gospel with him right there.
“Do what you feel like you need to do.” He said. But really, who could refuse a one-eyed evangelist?!
So I told him…
GOD created us to be with Him.
OUR sins separate us from God.
SINS cannot be removed by good deeds.
PAYING the price for sins, Jesus died and rose again.
EVERYONE who trusts in Him alone has eternal life.
LIFE with Jesus starts now and lasts forever!
I didn’t just recite that message word-for-word, but that is the outline of what I shared, stopping along the way to go a little deeper on each point, and weaving in my own personal story of putting my faith in Christ. I am guessing that it took me roughly two minutes to share the gospel (not that it is a race).
The man indicated that he put his faith in Christ, which is awesome! So I celebrated his great decision, wished him well, and finished the run.
Daily Run: My run today was a solo 4.16 miles at an average pace of 7:30 per mile, for a total moving time of 31 minutes and 17 seconds. I logged 51.5 total miles for the week.
Daily Bible Reading: Something that Greg mentioned in the podcast really stood out to me as I was re-reading Matthew 7-9.
[Jesus] said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”(Matthew 9:37-38, ESV)
The word for send is ekballō in the original Greek. So what does ekballō actually mean? It means to throw, or to cast out, to drive out, to thrust…
Wow! That word carries quite a bit more intensity with it than I had previously realized. I have always looked at that passage as important, but I am coming to believe that I have approached it more passively than I should have.
In other words, I have often come across this passage and stopped to pray a very polite:
“Lord, please send out workers into your harvest field. I am willing to be a worker, you can send me, too!”
Probably quite ignorant.
The implication of my prayer is that I am hopeful God would give people a gentle nudge towards entering the harvest field (sharing their faith with people who don’t know Jesus). I would like for Him to ever-so-softly nudge them in that direction.
Wow! That impotent prayer sure seems to miss the heart of what Jesus actually said. Perhaps a more Biblical prayer would be:
“Lord, thrust us out! Don’t let us live in ignorant comfort, oblivious to the fact that so many around the world and across the street go to bed at night not knowing who You are! Keep us from being uncaring about the eternal soul of unbelievers! Cast us out of our comfort zones. Throw us into the action! Drive us out of our homes and into the harvest field!