I never imagined that a Muslim woman would ask me to explain to her what it meant to be “evangelical.” Yet there I was, on a hillside overlooking the ancient city of Ephesus, and this twenty-something, “Muslim by culture” (as she described herself) looked at me with eyes full of anticipation as she awaited my reply.
Needless to say, I whispered a prayer for God’s help as this verse from His Word echoed in my mind:
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (I Peter 3:15)
And the Lord gave me the right response, with a spirit of love and gentleness that only He can provide. Our guide listened earnestly, asking questions from time-to-time-and in her face I saw the eagerness of someone who is searching for hope.
I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised at this young woman’s interest-especially walking along the same streets where the Apostle Paul journeyed centuries before. He wrote a letter to the people of Ephesus that began with these encouraging words:
“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” (Ephesians 1:16-18)
This same hunger for hope could be seen as I journeyed from Barcelona to
Rome, Istanbul to Athens. In every place I traveled, people were no different than those whom you and I interact with on a daily basis. They all want a purpose in life. They all want to connect with others. They all want to be loved and accepted.
And they want hope- hope for today, and hope for tomorrow!
Dear friends, this is exactly what we can offer them-and there’s no better time than right now to let them know that Jesus, our Lord and Savior, is the source of that hope they are seeking! In fact, Paul sent this same kind of reminder to the minister he left behind in Ephesus:
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 1:1-2; 2:1-4)
How do you start sharing about the hope that is in you? As Paul urges, begin with prayer for all people! We’ve got a big, big world-and everyone needs our prayers.
Next, live a life that can’t help but draw others to you. Be thankful and peaceful. Don’t be afraid to live a holy life – because this kind of godliness not only pleases the Lord but is also amazingly attractive to others.
Smile more. Give more. Let others see that the Son of God really does make a difference in your day-to-day interactions in this world!
I’m not sure where your travels will take you this summer. You may be somewhere around the globe or just enjoying your own beautiful city-but I can assure you that wherever you are, someone will be watching. People will notice not only who you are but also what you’re really all about. Your job is simply to share about the Hope who lives in you-right now and always!
We wish you the best and brightest summer season yet as you spend lots of time with the Son!
Thought of the Month
“That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”
I Timothy 4:10