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Open doors require open mouths!

by Pastor Tom Anderson

One of the Flint houses our students painted the other week belonged to an elderly woman named Diana. She poured out her faith and gratitude on the kids in remarkable ways. On Wednesday morning after prayer and before we began work, she presented us each with an iron spike to carry in our pockets. She wanted us to remember what Jesus had done for each of us.

Each morning the students made their own sandwiches and packed a lunch for themselves as provided at Calvary Church. But Diana saw fit to order pizza for all of us. The students did exquisite work in painting the siding and trim of her house and she was deeply touched and grateful.

While I was standing on a ladder bent on trimming out a set of window frames, I heard a voice speaking to me. It was the neighbor from across the street. She was astonished at the hive of activity going on and the cheerful voices and laughter of our youth. “Excuse me,” she inquired, “Who are you people? And why are you doing this?”

Just like that, God opened the door wide for a faith witness. “We are followers of Jesus from many different churches,” I said, “And we are here to show his love in practical ways. We love because He first loved us. This Sunday we’ll be gathering at Calvary Church to tell the story of our projects this week. It’s just down the street and we’d love to have you come.” She nodded with appreciation and amazement. I don’t know if she came to church that Sunday, but I do know she gave it some serious thought.

I pray this prayer a lot, it’s called the “three-open prayer” . God open a door—give me an opportunity to share Jesus with someone else. God open a heart—make others receptive to hearing about Jesus. God open my mouth—don’t let me hesitate or falter to say a good word for Jesus when the opportunity comes. As I have begun to pray this prayer, I’m noticing more and more that doors really are opening! More and more I’m seeing natural moments in the course of conversation and interaction with others where a word about Jesus is actually being called for and wanted. I’m ashamed to say that over the course of my life, my blindness and hesitation has let many of these opportunities pass by—but not this time!

If you care about the people around you and take a genuine interest in their lives it’s inevitable you’ll attract attention and someone is going to ask you why you care. This would be the moment for each of us to share our faith, to say the words, “it’s because of what Jesus means to me!” or something of your own creation. At the end of the day, you don’t need hours of Bible training or an ordination certificate to share your faith. In fact, it’s probably more effective when you don’t! The spike Diana gave me is the best thing that happened to me all summer and I’m going to hang on to it as long as it doesn’t wear a hole in my pocket!

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