“Tammie, you wouldn’t believe who I met today and what God did!”
Those are the words of a neighbor I had years ago with the biggest passion for souls. She hardly ran a single errand without introducing people to Jesus. Walmart, HEB, Gold’s Gym, etc., Patti always entered Jesus into the conversation. And, surprisingly, women opened their lives to her instantly! If they were having troubles, Patti heard about them. If they had questions about the validity of God, Patti answered them from her heart. Come to think of it, I never remember her reading any commentaries or doing any in-depth Bible studies. She wasn’t really the biblically scholarly type. But her love for Jesus was fierce and her acts of faith were profound. She was glued to her Bible daily. And talking to God in prayer was commonplace. So was flat-out listening for God’s voice and obeying. If God told Patti to do something, she did it. If God told Patti to speak to someone, she spoke. Patti exuded a winsome boldness, and women were attracted to it. Mind you, the woman never minced words. There were times they even pierced me. But her ardent love for Jesus and His people, plus her own transparency, acted as salve on revealed hearts when her words exposed places they hadn’t planned on going. I learned so much from her. There’s no telling how many women Patti reached for Christ.
This past week at Hobby Lobby, I found myself acting like Patti with the cashier. Somehow I entered Jesus into the conversation, and learned the woman has recently fell on hard times, just lost her home, is a single mom of a 15 year-old son, prefers non-denominational churches, and absolutely loves her customers. By the end of our time together, I invited her to join me at church and gave her my number. I haven’t heard from her yet, but that’s beside the point. More than anything, I’m just craving to be more like Patti in my day. I don’t want to see people merely as landscape in my peripheral vision. I want to burn with a love for Jesus and His people and souls. So much so, I can’t help but take the time to care, take the time to listen, take the time to speak up, and take the time to overtly share the wonder of the Good News.
I truly believe God is doing a new thing in the church today. This new thing is taking us back to the former things—akin to biblical days, akin to Patti days. Where the people of God love Jesus enough to be witnesses of Him. Where we’re so taken by Jesus, we cannot help but speak of Him wherever we go. Where we are a little more transparent with our own stories and struggles because we understand this is what reaches people. Where we love people with all sincerity, and snatch others from the fire because we burn with a passion for souls. Where we hear God’s voice and flat-out obey Him. Where we’re glued to the Scriptures daily and in constant prayer. Where we say to friends after running some errands, You wouldn’t believe who I met today and what God did!
Lately I’ve been thinking about how we don’t need one commentary, a seminary degree, or evangelism classes to live a Patti lifestyle, to live a biblical lifestyle. Though these are wonderful and excellent and worthy of value, they don’t qualify us before God for Kingdom works. If we’ll return to simply loving Jesus, loving people, and walking in the power of the Holy Spirit’s leading I bet one day it could be said of us too, “There’s no telling how many she reached for Christ.”