Prayer, Proclamation, & Praise
Max Burak, Sophomore Bible Major
Why? Why Me?
Why do I have to wake up at 5:30 every morning?
Why’d I have to turn down that counselor spot at the Wilds?
Why do I have to work two jobs while some of my friends get to do whatever they want?
Why does my family not make nearly as much as some of the other families in ministry?
If I’ve got to witness for God anyway, why can’t I be doing it on some exciting trip across the world?
Why? Why? WHY?
These were the questions that regularly popped into my mind during the first few weeks of summer. I was frustrated.
Growing up as a “PK” (pastor’s kid), I’ve heard Mark 16:15 more times than I can count. The verse of course talks about going into “the whole world” to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
After spending a year at Bob Jones University, and having numerous summer opportunities thrown in my lap, I was ready to live out this verse! I was ready to go out in the world for God and come back to school from a rewarding summer full of a fruitful harvest of souls!
However, going back to Ace Hardware and Tim Horton’s to work wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for this past summer. Listening to old men babble on and on about their latest car problem isn’t my favorite thing in the world, and having a middle-aged business woman yell impatiently for her mocha isn’t exactly my cup of tea…or coffee for that matter.
But, I wanted to get back to school for sophomore year, and my bank account wasn’t going to allow that unless I got some serious money, which is why I couldn’t afford to take a counselor spot or go on a mission trip.
So, there I was, sharpening lawn mower blades and toasting asiago bagels.
Then one day, while unloading a truck with one of my co-workers (we’ll call him Timothy), something came to mind. Tim was still working. Now, before you wonder why that’s odd, let me explain.
I had met Tim the year before, one of the first guys I ever met on the job. He’s two years older than me, has short dark curly hair, and treats everyday as a party. I had never met someone quite like him. He quickly became my main witnessing “target.”
Of course, in a work place, between a steady flow of customers and a strict boss, there aren’t exactly prime opportunities to strike up a deep spiritual conversation with a fellow co-worker. So, I resorted to the only other thing I knew. I prayed for him like I’d never prayed for any other unsaved friend. I continually thought of Colossians 4:2-6 where it talks about having an “open door for the Word.” I prayed. I prayed every night for Timothy.
Then, the week before I left for freshman year, I heard the news that he was getting his long awaited apprenticeship and wouldn’t be back by the time I returned next summer.
At school, I continued to pray. I tried to remember him every night and would even mention him in prayer meetings.
So, long story short, I get back and he was still working! He told me that the apprenticeship had fallen through and that he’d be sticking around a bit longer.
Interesting. Maybe God would provide a witnessing opportunity after all?
Back to prayer. Shoot him a text. More prayer. Ugh, how could I get a time to talk to him about the Gospel?!
Then, finally, on a slow Friday night, we had ended up on the same closing shift (which is rare).
There we were, stocking nuts and bolts, and I saw my chance for a conversation.
“Tim, don’t you ever get tired of going out every night and getting drunk?”
He surprisingly responded, “You know Maximillz, yea, I do.”
Well, one question led to another, and suddenly, we were talking about family, then religion, then… eternity.
Tim was close to tears, we had somehow gotten away with talking for two hours about where he was spiritually and how he could fix his sin. I’d never felt the Holy Spirit work like that before. It was absolutely incredible.
He had some more questions, and after we closed, we headed over to the church where we sat with my Dad.
We talked for another solid hour and Tim prayed. I honestly don’t know if he came to accept Christ as Savior that night. I don’t know if he fully understood, but I do know that God had answered my prayers. He had given me that open door to share the Gospel.
I was utterly blown away. I can’t even describe it. It was amazing!
Then, the next week, Tim got an apprenticeship and I never worked with him again.
After that experience, God gave me other conversations with unsaved co-workers. He opened my eyes to why he had me back in those jobs. There are many stories I could tell you, but this is the one that sticks out to me. The Lord revealed my selfishness at that point.
At the end of summer, I was asking some new questions to myself.
Why did I doubt God could use me anywhere?
Why did I complain so much?
Why did I think I needed to go somewhere else to proclaim God’s truth?
Why does school have to start so soon?
God is good! We shouldn’t doubt His plans. He’ll provide witnessing opportunities as long as we are willing to serve Him and go where he wants.
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The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.