I think I’ve found a new ministry.
But I don’t fly on planes often enough to put it into practice.
On my Tuesday flight from Dallas to L.A., I happened to be seated close to Victor and Evelyn Knowles as well as Dwight and Charme Robarts – all guest presenters at the Pepperdine Lectures where I was headed.
I also happened to be sitting by a sweet young lady who was reading one of Dr. Phil’s books. I don’t know which one; I’m not familiar with ’em. From what I could read on the back cover you could have titled it Be Your Best You.
Well, back up. She was trying to read one of Dr. Phil’s books. She would read a few paragraphs, then fall asleep. This happened three or four times, and one time when she awakened she saw that I was about three-quarters of the way through an excellent book, Rumours of Another World by another Phil, last name Yancey. She asked to read the back cover and how I liked it.
I was really liking it. It’s all about those little hints and evidences in the world around us that God is real, and is behind it all: the complexity of the human body … our innate sense of right and wrong … the motivation of Jesus Christ. I told her so. She smiled, and said it sounded interesting.
I finished the book just as the plane touched down. I really liked it. It was one of those books that I just knew I would read over and over.
But then I surprised myself.
I closed the book and said, “I really enjoyed this book.” Then I handed it to her. “And I hope you do too.”
She thanked me several times, and seemed genuinely grateful.
I told her “You can’t keep a good book to yourself.”
I had resisted the urge to ask her, Dr. Phil-style, if her book was working for her; obviously it wasn’t. Maybe the other Phil’s book will.
Okay, it’s not much of a ministry. I don’t even know if she’ll read the book. She might, and it might not touch her heart at all. Don’t complain to me that I didn’t preach the gospel to her right there in front of several better-qualified witnesses. There’s only so much you can communicate while a plane is waiting to taxi into a gate, even at Dallas-Ft. Worth.
So I asked her what put her on a plane and she told me about her sister’s upcoming wedding and I surprised myself again by being genuinely interested rather than pretending I was interested, because she had been gracious enough to accept my gift. And we chatted until we deplaned; crossed paths at the airport a couple more times before my Thrifty Rental van picked me up … and we’ll probably never see each other again this side of heaven.
But Who knows?
As I said, I think I’ve discovered a new ministry. But I don’t fly on planes often enough to put it into practice. Maybe if you fly on planes or ride buses and trains or sit in waiting rooms and coffee shops more than I do, you could.
Just give someone a book that you love, then tell ’em why God inspires you through it.
Then tell ’em you have a friend named Keith who says “You can’t keep a good book to yourself.”
And, if you do … drop me an e-mail and let me know how it’s workin’ for ya.