WHEN I MET REAGAN
On a flight home from a recent speaking engagement, I spoke with Reagan, a man in his late 20’s who sat across the aisle from me. I made conversation by asking a few friendly questions and discovered Reagan married two years ago, did software work for the Air Force, and was heading home from a business trip. He was extremely personable and we small-talked for about 10 minutes before we both opened books and read for the next hour of our flight.
However, 20 minutes before the plane landed Reagan closed his book, so I seized the opportunity to engage him in more conversation by asking another question or two. Eventually, he asked me a question; “What kind of work do you do?” After explaining what I did, Reagan responded, “I lean toward the pro-choice view. Tell me why I should be pro-life.” What a golden opportunity! I answered, “Well, actually, you shouldn’t be pro-life if the science of embryology is wrong.” This allowed me to focus our discussion around the central question, “What are the preborn?”, and launched us into a meaningful dialogue. Before long, we had an audience as passengers in the two seats in front of us unashamedly repositioned themselves in their seats in order to listen in. Reagan’s comfort with our exchange, expressed by his many questions, provided ample opportunity for me to make the case for life. As the plane landed, most of the passengers crammed themselves into the aisle to exit and I ended the conversation by thanking Reagan for the enjoyable dialogue. As we waited, and with our audience still present, Reagan surprised me with yet another direct question: “Thirty years of marriage, eh? What’s your secret?”
I marveled over the gift this conversation was and wondered if those listening in suspected Reagan and me of collusion. I responded, “Reagan, there’s no secret. My wife and I are convinced Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be: God who took on flesh to pay the penalty for our sins. We’ve built our lives on this truth and on His teachings and this has made all the difference in our marriage.” Reagan kindly thanked me and that ended our discussion. Along with the other passengers, we began to file out of the plane. I felt great emotion and thanked God under my breath for this encounter. I have no idea what lasting impact, if any, my words had on Reagan or our extended audience. But God knows and I trust Him to use them for His purposes.
Contrary to the conventional wisdom of many Christians, pro-life ministry and sharing the Gospel are not competing interests, as my experience with Reagan proved. In fact, doing the first often leads to doing the second. I still have much to learn as an ambassador for Christ, but speaking compassionately and persuasively to the pressing moral issues of our time naturally opens the door to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
We are not forced to choose between speaking up for the forgotten little ones scheduled to die by abortion and pointing others to the Gospel. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can do both. Responding to legalized abortion is a Gospel issue that often presents us with a Gospel opportunity.
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” – Colossians 4:5