Traveling and meeting people always has been an effective way for me to show the love of God and share the Gospel of Christ with others.
Recently I was in a Midwestern state registering at a hotel in which I had previously stayed. The manager recognized me and upon taking my registration information noticed I am a Baptist. The gentleman told me he was a Hindu from South Africa. Then came what I thought was an odd request: "Please pray for me," he said. What was even odder is that he called his family to the front desk and told them I would pray for them.
During the next few days conversations between us revolved around our respective faiths. Although he knew about Christianity, the hotel proprietor did not have a personal relationship with Christ. Each morning during my stay he joined me at breakfast to talk about spiritual matters. I sensed the Holy Spirit guiding our conversations. One day a Jewish couple joined our conversation. In an unusual twist, I heard the hotel manager telling about the great things Christians do to help the peoples of the world.
Not long ago a global correspondent for the Southern Baptist International Mission Board wrote an article about Matthew Parris, a self-professed atheist who writes for The Times of London. In an article, Parris wrote: "Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa; sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa, Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good."
These two instances of seeing the difference Christianity makes remind me of Matthew 5:16: "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven."
These statements and this passage are strong indicators that missions and ministry are important aspects of the Christian life. Because of Christ's love we are called to minister and be on mission.
There are many opportunities in California, throughout the United States and around the world to share Christ's love. Let me encourage California Southern Baptists to be open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit when seeking mission and ministry opportunities. When we minister in Jesus' name we bring glory and praise to our Heavenly Father.