Early this day, despite a sore back, the Lord kindly gave me the privilege and opportunity to stand as His ambassador by spending some free time downtown at a busy transit station during the morning rush time with my "Are You Ready" cross as commuters were stepping off their buses to go to work.
I could see their wheels spinning.
Quizzical looks on some faces, rolling eyes on some, smiles on others, friendly greetings and many of the more than curious came up to me and accepted an "Are You Ready" gospel tract. There was no time to talk as all were on their way to their offices for the day.
A young fellow, I believe in his mid-twenties, clean-cut and pleasant, was struck by the question on the cross as he walked by, stopped and came over to ask me, "Ready for what?". "Eternity", is my usual reply. "If you died today, would you be ready to stand before God and give an account for all you did, said and thought in your life? Are you right with God through Jesus Christ?"
That started a more than 20 minute conversation that caused him to realize the eternal trouble he was in knowing he was outside of the grace of God despite his religion and good works. I took him through the law and then covered the love, mercy and grace in God's provision of redemption through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Lord.
But what really struck him (his name is Adam) was when I explained the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross for sinners like him and me. He said he had never heard the gospel explained that way before and he seemed somewhat convicted as he realized the wonder and magnitude of God's grace for him by Jesus taking on the wrath of God upon Himself as He hung on the cross, in his place as his substitute, that he may be freely forgiven and granted eternal life through repentance and faith.
When I started to give Adam the courtroom scenario in God's court of law on Judgment Day, he stopped me to tell me he knows what it's like to be in court. Five years ago, he was sent to prison to serve a 3 year sentence for what he said was "real stupid and bad decisions" for which he was truly sorry for. He said he read the Bible in prison and made a commitment to change himself for the better. He said that he was banking on his attempt to be a good person to get himself into heaven. I respectfully and dutifully told him that would not cut it and shared with him Bible verses that denounce works and uphold the truth of grace by faith in Christ alone.
As Adam's bus arrived, he smiled as he shook my hand (I think he wanted to hug me, actually), he thanked me profusely for our talk, gladly took one of my tracts, email contact info and off he went.
Glory to God for the AYR cross that gets people thinking and asking! That is all the work of the Holy Spirit! I was praising Him for this wonderful encounter as I left my post, wishing to click my heels as I walked down the street...but my back was too sore.