His first name was Ron. I wish I remembered his last name. I’d try to locate him on one of the many social media networks of cyberspace.
It’s been 40 years since we last saw each other. We worked together at the Communication Station on the Yokosuka Naval Base. The Lord reminded me recently of the brief conversation we had on the cement interior steps leading to the second floor of the windowless building. I’d just finished the administrative check-out process and was on my way to the airport for the flight back to the states.
Ron told me he would miss me. And then he thanked me.
“For what?” I was puzzled.
Ron and I spent nearly four years in the same duty section. We often hung out together with many of the same friends from work. During all that time I never hesitated to share my Christian faith with him – or with anyone else, for that matter. But Ron could never bring himself to a place of commitment to the Jesus I loved. Even at my invitation, he never attended church services at the military chapel with me. Yet when we shared a few last words with each other before I got on a plane, Ron thanked me.
He answered plainly, “Because you have always been consistent in what you said and how you lived.”
Christian, this is important.
You and I are often the only representation of Jesus many will ever see. If that doesn’t scare you, then you read that last sentence too quickly. How we live will always speak more loudly and more persuasively than what we say.
I’ve prayed for Ron from time to time through the last 40 years. And I prayed again for him as I thought of our last goodbye. Although I was unaware of it at the time, God used me to plant a seed in Ron’s heart. I can only hope someone else came along and watered it – so that God would get the increase.
So that God will get the increase.
Isn’t that what we want? Which is why and all the more we ought to ask God every day, “Lord, make me a good influence for Christ in the lives of those I live with, and in the lives of those I will meet today. Keep hypocrisy far from my heart. Amen and amen.”