A little girl was prepped and ready for a dangerous operation that could potentially end in her death. In his efforts to comfort her, the surgeon said, “Before we can make you well, we must first put you to sleep.” The little girl responded, “Oh, if you are going to put me to sleep, I must say my prayers first.” Then she folded her hands, closed her eyes, and prayed the prayer she prayed every night before she drifted off to sleep:
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake; I pray the Lord my soul to take. And this I ask for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
The operation was a success. Even more than that, it had an unintended effect. That night that surgeon prayed for the first time in thirty years.
Christian, it is simply impossible for you to know the multitude of ways in which Jesus can use your efforts for Him. A kind word. A timely phone call. An encouraging text. A helpful email. Discreetly bowing your head in a restaurant before a meal. Inviting someone to church. Offering to drive a young person to a Christian youth event. Quoting an appropriate scripture when a situation at work calls for it.
The point is that you must live your Christianity. Call it “Christianity in shoe leather” or “Christianity with boots on.” It’s that way of life in which church attendance becomes a pit stop or a tune up rather than a once-a-week Super Bowl event. It’s when the location for “doing church” becomes the whole world rather than just a big building with a steeple atop it. It’s why the great preacher Vance Havner used to say, “The best edition of the Bible is the flesh-and-blood edition.”
I’m reminded of the story about the missionary who was traveling through the interior of China. He came upon a group of natives and proceeded to tell them about Jesus. To his surprise, the natives said to him, “Yes, we knew that man. He used to live here with us.” The missionary tried to explain that he was talking about a man who had lived many centuries ago in another land, but the natives stuck to their claim. “No,” they said, “he lived here in this village.” Then they took the missionary to their local cemetery. There they pointed out the grave of the medical missionary who had lived among them, served them, cured their sicknesses, and ultimately died in their midst.
That’s the idea! Because Jesus is no longer upon this earth in bodily form, those of us who have believed in Him as our personal Savior must allow Him to, in a sense, live His life over again through us. We must be His arms, His legs, His eyes, and His voice. But if the best we can do is pray every now and then, read our Bibles when we have nothing else to do, go to church when all the stars align, drop a little money in a church offering plate if we have some excess, and think and operate like the world the rest of the time, then we aren’t fulfilling our mission. And so, Christian, I ask you right now, “How does Jesus want to use you to point someone to Himself?” For a little girl on an operating table one day, it was a child’s prayer heard by a surgeon. What will it be for you?