“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. … If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”1
This verse is proving so true in my life. When I make the effort to put Jesus in first place in my life, opportunities drop in my lap and doors open to share my faith with others—oftentimes, as I’m going about my everyday routine, such as while traveling by public transportation.
On one such trip, as I approached the bus station, which was teeming with people, I noticed two men who were obviously intoxicated. One man was holding a plastic bag filled with beer cans. They seemed noisy and obnoxious, and my initial reaction was to keep at a distance, as I didn’t want to be inconvenienced.
But then I felt God’s nudge: “Talk to them!” It dawned on me how quickly I had judged them by their appearance and behavior. The Bible says, “People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”2 Jesus didn’t care what social standing or label people had when He chose to give them love and attention. He was even accused of being a drunk and denounced for fraternizing with the wrong crowd. He chose love above reputation and comfort.
I struggled with doubts whether I should follow the Lord’s nudge but decided to give it a shot. I handed each man a gospel tract and told them I hoped it would make their day. The man with the beer cans told me he’d had plenty of bad experiences with Christians that talked about Jesus’ love but were condescending. “I want nothing to do with them!” he added.
As more and more people began filling the bus station, they quietly listened to our out-of-the-ordinary conversation about salvation.
Finally, the ruder one of the two smirked and said loudly and clearly, “I’ll take Jesus if I can get into your pants!” I realized that it was just an attempt to scandalize and embarrass a believer, and I was right, as before I had a chance to answer, he added with a sigh, “—Or if you just give me some food!”
“When was the last time you ate?” I asked.
“I haven’t had a meal in two days,” was his response. There was silence. I asked God to show me how to proceed. I knew this was His opportunity to reach out to this lost man to show him He really does love him.
“Okay,” I replied. “I’m cooking spaghetti tonight for my family. I can meet you here with a warm meal by dinnertime.” He happily agreed on a time to meet, and with that, his attitude changed from scornful to respectful.
Time was short, as the bus would be arriving any minute, so I felt God’s lead to offer to pray for him.
In response, his drinking buddy, who had been the gentler of the two, started yelling angrily. “How’s Jesus gonna help him?!”
But the man I was talking with told him off, saying, “Respect prayer, man! She’s gonna pray for me!”
I put my hand on his shoulder and we both bowed our heads in front of a staring crowd while I prayed for his salvation, for him to understand how much Jesus loves him, and for his deliverance from alcoholism.
He was moved and said in a choked voice, “I felt a warm sensation in my heart when you prayed. I’ve never felt that before!”
The bus arrived and I got on. “Thank you!” he said, as we parted.
When cooking dinner that evening, we made enough extra food for two and packed it with plastic silverware and napkins.
I was wondering if the man would actually show up at the appointed time, and he did, now sober. We stood in the empty bus station and talked for a while longer about Jesus’ healing power. As I handed him the food, I explained that we had added enough for two meals. “Thanks!” he exclaimed. “My roommate is hungry as well, and I was planning on sharing this meal with him!”
“Nobody’s ever done a thing like this for me before!” he said.
I was so inspired at the result that came from being willing to be available when Jesus asked me to step out of my comfort zone to witness to and show His love to this man, even if it was hard at first because of the onlookers. It makes me want to dare to be a fool for Christ,3 no matter what He asks of me or how difficult it may be initially. As the challenge goes, “I’m a fool for Christ. Whose fool are you?”