Over the years, I have become a fan of podcasts. The variety and depth available nowadays are worth my time, especially as I can listen to them while doing life admin or on the go. Recently, I downloaded some of my favourite shows to listen to during a flight to another city. I don’t always get a chance to be introverted on an aeroplane, with the obvious obstacle being the presence of other passengers. So, I have an arrangement with God that if I am seated on my own I get to zone out, but if He sits me next to someone I will engage in conversation and discern if faith is a safe topic.
Once, I was seated next to a friendly gentleman who was a leader in one of New Zealand’s biggest farming industries. We talked about a variety of topics; the issues he faced in his field of work, the grief he experienced counselling clients, and the kind priest who would join him at the pub to listen and be a friend. As we talked, the Holy Spirit pointed out to me that in this case, the priest was modelling the example of the Good Shepherd, Jesus, which provided an opportunity for me to share the gospel with this man. He was moved by the analogy and thanked me before we parted ways.
Sometimes, we hesitate to talk with others because we don’t know where the conversation will lead or if we will know what to say. But Paul encourages each of us to “let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6 NIV). Knowing how to answer everyone does not mean you have to know it all. To be full of grace is to be full of God’s love—secure in His provision of the words we need to provide encouragement and comfort to others. It produces a variety and depth to the types of conversations we can have about Jesus.
Funnily enough, as we rose to leave the plane, the passengers in front turned to us and thanked us. “We didn’t mean to listen, but that was a fascinating conversation. It was like listening to a podcast,” they remarked. It just goes to show, you never know who’s listening. How can you make sure the show is all about the love of Jesus?