Have you ever had to ‘cold call’ someone perhaps because you were in a sales role? Or maybe you were trying to raise funds for a good cause and you started in your neighborhood door-to-door. For most of us, it is not something we are comfortable with and we will usually choose anything else just to not face a reaction that we so anticipate.
The, “no thank you, I am not interested”.
So, how do you stop by and check on a relative, one who you have never visited, to make sure their heart is in a good place and talk about Jesus?
Since my father passed away, it has been on my heart to stop and see my uncle. He is the only one remaining of his immediate family and he is unfortunately far removed from a relationship with his own daughters. My heart weighed heavy for someone who had just lost both parents, a brother, and sister over the last few years and I wondered if anyone would take time to check on him. To see if he was okay and to allow him a chance to share.
My uncle has lived in the same residence for years and it is often that I travel pass his street but have never stopped. We have never been really close but I often sat in on the good conversation at Thanksgiving and Christmas with him and my dad about racing, fast cars they used to own, and their gun collection. Though many words flowed back-and-forth between the two none of them landed in a discussion about God or if my uncle was a believer.
So, for the last few weeks the Spirit has been tugging at my heart and my steering wheel to turn on his street. To knock on the door. To share Jesus with my uncle.
Yesterday, I parked the car across the street from his apartment and looked upon a closed front door and curtains guarding any chance of light to get inside. I knew he was home because both cars sat in the driveway. Why was I so nervous, it’s just my uncle? I got out of the car and walked up to the front door and knocked… and knocked again… and again. As quick as the thought, “okay God I stopped but he must be sleeping” passed and I turned to walk away, the door opened.
My uncle invited me in and I sat down on the couch in sort of a awkward moment generated because I had never been here before. I felt I had slipped back in time. An old Clint Eastwood movie was playing on the television set and an old wind-up clock that my great-aunt used to have ticked and broke the silence between words. There were so many old pictures framed and sitting on book shelves and the coffee table. There was even one of me when I couldn’t have been older than five. Wow, so many memories. I just looked around the room for what seemed like minutes taking it all in. Remembering family. Realizing this is what keeps my uncle close to those he loved.
Our conversation began to naturally flow as we broke the ice about old movies that we both used to watch, memories of dad, and his passion for Dodge cars.
But what about Jesus? How was I going to transition the conversation in that direction?
The answer sat six feet in front of me. Through all the scanning of the room for pictures and personal belongings that were a representation of who my uncle was and what meant something to him, I completely missed Jesus was sitting right next to uncle. Well… Jesus in a box.
As Jeff Foxworthy would say, “there’s your sign”.
When I spoke of the Jesus figure sitting on the shelf, my heart warmed inside when the first thing he said was, “I love this and when I saw it I had to buy it”. He took the figure off the shelf and we sat attentively listening to it recite scripture and the story of when Jesus fed thousands on the mountain with fish and bread. He sat quietly with a smile on his face as we listened. That was just the interlude that led to him finding his Bible on the coffee table under stacks of paper and magazines in which he opened and shared about the personal meaning of the bookmarks he used. These were bookmarks made up of personal notes that his parents and aunt used when they studied the Bible and I could feel the pride as he shared them. There was a sense of peace with him and it was through it all I learned that he was a believer but struggled with regularly going to church and studying The Word.
It is an amazing experience when you allow the Spirit within your heart the control it so desires to lead you down paths that you would normally not choose. I was blessed yesterday to learn more about my uncle on a personal level and to learn that he believes in God and that in his own way he keeps God close and in his sight.
The Jesus in a box may just be a figure that sits on the shelf but the real Jesus Christ sits besides him and will provide my uncle the love and peace that he needs.
Yesterday, I saw both.