Two men, who do not know one another, are walking through the fishing department at Bass Pro. As they shuffle through the lures and examine the latest gear they begin to talk…about fishing.
A young woman is at Barnes and Noble looking at the latest fiction offerings. Another woman approaches and they begin to talk…about the book’s author.
Two strangers step out of a Chinese restaurant at the same time and see that it has begun to rain. They quickly begin a conversation…about the weather.
People like to talk. It builds a sense of familiarity and removes uneasy feelings of awkwardness and lessens feelings of isolation. But generally our conversations, especially with strangers, are kept at a minimal level. We don’t want to open up too much and we don’t want to ask too many questions for fear of seeming to pry. Sometimes that fear becomes so paralyzing that we never move beyond small talk.
These happenstance meetings involve strangers. People we may never see again. But other interactions occur among acquaintances; the people we interact with from time to time. Acquaintances may include a businessperson we see each month, a mechanic who works on our car, a neighbor next door or a teller at the bank. These may not quite rise to the level of a friend but we do see them often and have some kind of ongoing relationship with them. We have no problem discussing car repairs or a deposit to our account with them but anything more seems difficult.
How easy it is to talk about the weather but so hard to talk about the one who makes it! In John 4, Jesus struck up a conversation with a woman over a drink of water. In Acts 16 Paul and Silas began to converse with their jailer. In both cases the people were converted to Jesus. Both people had needs which only Jesus could meet. Yet in both cases there was no outward sign of their need. Only by talking to people can we know their problems and needs. Then we can introduce them to Jesus.
Making one deliberate contact is incredibly easy. It’s as simple as asking where (or if) someone attends church. Simply work it into the conversation. If there is a special day coming up, invite them. Just do not ignore their spiritual needs.
“Hey Bob, your yard is already looking nice.”
“Thanks, I spent almost the whole weekend working in it.”
“So you got more yard work planned this weekend?”
“Probably so. But hey, we have special series underway at our church service this Sunday. I don’t want to miss it. Why don’t you guys come with us?”
Will they come? Maybe, maybe not, but you made the contact. And the next time, it will be a little easier. Making one deliberate contact every month is really easy. Just give it a try!