I love getting to new destinations. I hate traveling.
Taking personality profiles, I’m an extrovert, yet there is some magical transformation that takes place while I am in an airport. I withdraw within myself. Though I will hold a conversation with someone, I’d much rather buy a magazine, put in my headphones and pray my flight is on time.
When traveling recently, I sat next to another extrovert, who was very keen on talking. At the moment, my nervous energy overwhelmed my timidity and I started a conversation.
“Where are you from?” I asked. “Seattle” he replied.
“Why are you flying to Houston?” I added. He then proceed to give in long detail how he develops genetic testing machines. Incredible stuff, yet completely over my head.
“What do you do?” he asked me. “I’m a seminary student. I’m going to be a pastor in the United Methodist Church” I responded.
“Oh, well, that’s good too…” he said as the expression on his face changed. Immediately I sensed him pondering that this is going to be a long flight. He was not a Christian, as he made that clear as he floundered for what to say next without offending me. Not only was he from Seattle, which has a large population of atheists, he was in the medical/scientific field. All of this adding up to a possibly awkward two hour flight.
I knew not what to do from there. We continued our conversation for a few more minutes and each of us then settled into our respective distractions.
I felt burdened for him, so I did what any “good” Christian would do. I prayed for him. How good of a Christian am I!
I sat there, “praying” for the man next to me, when God, in that still small voice, said, “He doesn’t need your prayers, he needs you.” Ouch! God showed me as we were preparing for landing that I was Jesus on the plane for this man. Christians are Christ to the world. Prayers are good, being physically there is better.
I’d like to say I then turned and gave the man Jesus. I’d like to say I laid hands on the woman across the aisle who was flying to and from Atlanta for chemo treatments. I’d like to say I even pulled my Bible out as a conversation starter. But I cannot.
I am still learning what it is like to be Jesus to people. But I have realized the first step in this process is realizing you are Jesus to people, maybe the only Jesus representative they encounter. It doesn’t mean you should make everyone uncomfortable by preaching in confided spaces, but when God moves your heart for people, be more than just a prayer warrior for them. Give them Jesus.