Do you know who Albert McMakin is? You should.
Albert McMakin was a 24-year-old farmer who had come to believe in Jesus. He was full of enthusiasm about his faith, so he filled his truck with friends and took them to a meeting to hear about Jesus. There was one person Albert particularly wanted to come. He was a good-looking farmer’s son and a natural leader. But this young man was hard to persuade. He was busy falling in and out of love with different girls and didn’t seem at all interested in Christianity. Albert McMakin was finally able to persuade the young man to come to the seekers meeting by saying: “If you come I’ll let you drive my truck.” The year was 1934 and in rural North Caroline where they lived, that was a cool thing.
When they arrived at the meeting Albert’s guest decided to go in. He was spellbound by the teaching about Jesus and began to have thoughts he’d never had before. The young man went back again and again until one night he went forward and gave his life to Jesus Christ. That young man’s name was Billy Graham.
Everyone knows Billy Graham; no one knows Albert McMakin. But without Albert McMakin, no one would ever have heard of Billy Graham.
My point is that there are important people in your sphere of influence. You don’t need to be sent to Asia or the Middle East to find them; you don’t even need to be sent to RIT or University of Rochester to find them. You already know them.
Are you genuine with them about your faith? If not, there’s only three reasons why not:
1) you want their approval more than God’s
2) you’re letting sin into that relationship
3) it’s a new relationship and you’re waiting for the right time
I know that’s a confrontative thing to say. And as I write it God is bringing someone to my mind whom I see regularly at Planet Fitness. I’m realizing it’s time for me to share my faith with that person.
God isn’t asking you to be an oddball for Jesus. It’s better to be natural about how you share who you are. And paradoxically, that usually means rehearsing how to present yourself because – as you intuitively know — bringing God into a conversation changes the atmosphere in the room. It will also change the relationship. But wouldn’t it feel better to be your true self with that person? It puts the relationship on a more peaceful footing. They’ll either distance themselves from you (which often means it isn’t a real relationship) or they’ll engage you more deeply (which often means it will become a real relationship). Though for the latter to occur, you’ll probably have to keep making yourself available to them. That requires a little effort on your part.
Step 1 is to pray for them. Take that card that says “My 3” on it and put it on your dresser to remind you. Prayer keeps that person a person to you, not a project. A person, not a project. And of course, prayer gently infuses you with spiritual power.
There are important people in your sphere of influence. Very important people.