I Hardly Have to Try
“You take what you did not deposit, and you reap what you did not sow.”
– Jesus telling a parable, Luke 19:21
Sometimes I forget that I don’t have to try that hard.
As my hopes of going to Fuller dwindle in the face of monetary opposition, God opens a new door. I had been hoping God would introduce me to a Muslim, being as how I don’t really rub elbows with any. I don’t really have any relationships with anyone at the Mosque, and I just don’t feel a connection of any kind.
Giving it the old college try, I decided to go to an interfaith event at the local Mosque tomorrow, hoping God would open the door for me to build a relationship with a Muslim. Last time I went, I had a great time. Unfortunately I hung out with a bunch of other Christians who clustered together, trying to find someone to talk to at the Mosque. We hung out with one guy in particular, a black man from the South who has been everywhere and done everything… love that kind of conversation, but even so I never got the sense it was going anywhere. Ok, great. Maybe this isn’t what you’re doing right now God. So, I’m choosing to try again. But, how hard do I really have to try?
I was in Starbucks a few days ago, doing what I normally do… trying to do something, anything, other than nothing. Usually it involves reading my Bible… this might have been the day I was trying (and failing) to read/understand a Qur’ an I picked up months ago. I get so bored in Corona sometimes. There weren’t many tables available inside, as there usually aren’t. There aren’t many tables to begin with. I digress.
Anyway, this man walks in. He’s black, but I can tell he’s African right off the bat. I love Africans. I miss Africans. I miss Africa. He looks around for a table. I’m not so quick at the draw, so I sort of looked up at him when he eyed my table, and he turned before I could invite him to sit at my table… it was a small table, so maybe some of the hesitation lay in my unwillingness to share, I digress again. Long story short, he asks someone else if he can share a table… dead giveaway that he’s not American. Americans leave restaurants before they will ever share a table. Last time someone sat down at my table in Starbucks I’m sure it was a cartel bodyguard occupying the seat opposite of me, maybe that’s why I hesitated.
So I saw this African guy in Starbucks. I wanted to talk to him. I did not. Maybe bullet points will keep me from analyzing details. I’m sitting here this evening and the same dude walks in, sits down at the table in front of me, and proceeds to study for something. Awesome. As he was preparing to leave, I got the notion that I should say hi to him and see where he’s from… wasn’t sure if it was God prompting me (in the end I’m sure it was him), but I like talking to Africans and foreigners in general, so I was stoked to introduce myself anyway. I strike up a conversation with this guy, find out he’s a med student from The Gambia, he finds out I’ve done mission work in East Africa, and there we go. No matter what answer I give him, I can’t seem to shake him. He wants to know why I was in Africa, what I was doing there. No, what was I really doing there. Eventually it came down to me explaining how I wanted to work with Muslims, teaching them computers, to give them a skill, and to share who Jesus is with them.
Guess what? He’s a Muslim. If you read that Wikipedia article I linked you to in the former paragraph, you would have read that The Gambia is a country which is 90% Muslim. Awesome. So stoked he came to my Starbucks.
I told him how excited I was to meet him because I had been asking God for him to introduce me to a Muslim who I could talk to. Not only that, but I found it so difficult to understand the Qur’ an I was reading that I was hoping that someone could explain what it means to me. Just like in Africa, we exchanged phone numbers and are planning to meet up and talk about all of this sometime soon. Apparently he’s planning on going to the interfaith event at the Mosque tomorrow too, so hopefully I’ll see him there.
In the end, Jesus reaps where he didn’t sow, and I think we get to do that too. Here I was planning on going to the Mosque, hopefully to make a friend, and Jesus drops one in my lap. I didn’t even have to go to the Mosque to “sow” seed, I was able to “reaping” just because God’s cool like that. We’ll see where God takes all of this, but either way I’m stoked. See, I don’t have to try that hard.