I tried something new today.
Gary and I went to a Chinese buffet, and they had a guy down at the end making sushi.
Now, I'd never tried sushi before. I was pretty nervous about it. Would it taste good? Would I get sick? What kind should I get?
I smiled over the sneeze guard at the sushi maker and told him it was my first time. I asked him what he recommended. He gave me a blank look and said just enough that I could tell he felt more comfortable speaking Chinese than my language.
I tried to explain again that I'd never had it before and asked what was in it.
He pointed to the different rolls and told me, "This, vegetable. This, crab. This, spicy tuna. This, ___." (I didn't get it, but I smiled and nodded)
I still wasn't too sure about trying it, so I kind of stepped back and let a woman go ahead of me with her empty plate.
As she started to dig in, I asked her if she'd had it before.
"Oh yeah, too much," she kind of laughed.
I told her I had never had sushi before and I wasn't sure what to get. "You've never gotten sick from it, have you?"
"No, it's good!" She explained what was in most of them and when she got through the line (I was still carefully picking what I wanted) she came back past me with some pink stuff on top of her sushi and explained that she liked to put ginger on top.
"I think you're really supposed to eat it after you're done, but I put it on mine 'cuz I have kind of a sweet tooth," she said.
Well, you all know about my sweet tooth, so I took a piece of ginger, too. I went back to my table, more confident after I had gotten advice from someone who went there all the time.
Turns out I really liked it. I went back from another piece later. I didn't care for the ginger very much, but it was interesting.
As I ate, I thought about how often I resist trying new things because I don't have someone to explain it to me and lead the way.
Then I went on to ponder how this could relate to sharing our faith.
Sometimes, people might be curious about our faith but they aren't really sure how to start. They might ask us about it, but when we respond with a bunch of "Christianese" they have no idea what we're talking about.
Repentance, grace, born again, sanctification, justification, and other big words can leave them confused and frustrated.
We need to put it in words they understand. We need to share our experience with them so they can try it themselves and decide if it's for them, even if they don't embrace it exactly the way we do.
When you see someone hanging around uncertainly in the back of church before or after the worship service, talk to them and lead the way. Invite them to sit with you. Smile and greet them warmly. Answer any questions they have in plain English, not "Christianese."
When you have a chance to share your faith at work, or school, or around town...do it! Introduce someone to your Savior. Help them try something new.
Once they "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8) they'll be back for more.
"...if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." (Isaiah 58:10 NIV)
Are you afraid to try something new? Have you ever tried something after a friend or relative led the way? How can focusing on God help you to be someone who feels comfortable introducing others to Jesus?