The Eye Doctor Evangelist

It was that time of year again….time to get my eyes checked. I hadn’t managed my last contact order well and the remaining pair was getting painful…and I was wearing my glasses a LOT!

I arrived at my appointment on the first day insurance would cover me for this year. As I’m sitting in waiting area, anxiety already building over the dreaded ‘puff’ test’, I overheard the tech and another patient. I don’t know what she had shared with her, but the tech proclaimed in a joyful yet understanding voice, “Girl, it’ll all work out. I know it seems rough right now, but God always works things out. Just hang in there.”

As I sat there playing Candy Crush, I smiled, thinking they must have had quite the heart-to-heart over the eight minutes it takes to run all the preliminary tests. But I was impressed at how genuine she sounded, even from another room.

“Kala Watkins?” It was my turn. I headed back, just praying I didn’t make a fool out of myself trying to get that stupid puff in my eye. I was greeted by a bubbly twenty-something African American woman who as all smiles. I’m going to imagine her name is Tracy. As she got the tests going, I discovered she was quite chatty….

Tracy: “So…did you have a good weekend?”
Kala: “I sure did…wasn’t bad at all.”
Tracy: “Did you do anything fun?”
Kala: “Not specifically. It was nice to just have a laid back, easy-going weekend without a lot on the calendar. What about you? Did you do anything fun?”
Tracy: “Girl! I had the best weekend ever. You know what I did? I went to church on Sunday and spent some time with Jesus. I actually went to TWO church services, and you could really feel the presence of God there. It was something powerful. There’s nothing I like more about my weekends than going to church and praisin’ Jesus! You know what I mean?”

I was simultaneously surprised and impressed. She’d started a conversation in a way that led me to ask her about her weekend. And then she didn’t waste the opportunity to tell me all about it. My response was kind of embarrassing…

Kala: “That’s great! Definitely is something about being in the Lord’s presence. Is your church worshiping in person now?”

Way to go, Kala. Find a way to make the spirit of God seem boring and then ask a logistical question because you don’t know how to talk to this fellow sister in Christ.

Tracy: “Yes….and praise Jesus. That computer screen didn’t quite cut it. There’s something about actually being in church with other people that really is good for the soul. Yep, my church down on the corner of Whatsit St and Doodad Dr has been back in person for a couple of months now.. Maybe that’s why I went to two services, because I just missed those people!”

Again. I’m super impressed. She’s now managed to flawlessly incorporate where her church is located into the conversation. She’s obviously done this before. Well rehearsed, but not forced.

I gave a few more comments about church, kind of embarrassed that I couldn’t come up with anything more exciting to say. After she finished that dang puff test (which only took one try per eye…yay!), I went on my way as she reminded me to have blessed day. Very genuinely. I would expect no less at this point.

Tracy’s words stuck with me. Why couldn’t I be more like her? Why did I have so much trouble bringing up Jesus to other people, when He’s done amazing things in my life? If it’s that amazing, why do I feel like I have to keep it so private?

This thought was still running around inside my head later that week when I got into a conversation with some co-workers about being a morning person or a night owl. I’m definitely a morning person. I haven’t always been, but I’ve turned in to one in recent years. I told them that I get up at 4:45 each morning. They looked at me like I had three eyes and asked what I do with all that time.

And here’s where it’s embarrassing once again. I hesitated to tell them that I spend a big chunk of that time reading my Bible. Maybe because I didn’t want them to think it was dumb. I don’t know. But Tracy’s tenacity came back to mind when I noticed my hesitation, and I rephrased my answer to include reading my Bible.

I’d like to say I gave a full on Tracy-style answer. Something like “I get up in the morning and read my Bible. It’s really the only way to start my day. To spend some quiet with my Savior, the One who loves me more than anything in the world. To hear from Him and be equipped to better serve Him throughout my day.”

Instead I just added it to a list of morning tasks- empty the dishwasher, make lunches, plan dinner, start laundry…oh, and read my Bible. Like a mumbled after thought. Even though a Tracy-style answer would not have been an exaggeration, I couldn’t get it out. It made me realize three things, ways I want to be more like Tracy.

Tracy was passionate. She was so in love with her Savior that she couldn’t help but tell people she met in her day to day life about how amazing and wonderful just being in His prescence was.

Tracy had her priorities in line. She understood that her primary purpose was not to measure eyes or earn money. She understood that God had her in that place, in front of certain people, for a reason. Her job was just something she did while looking for opportunities to talk about Jesus.

Tracy was prepared. She was rehearsed, and knew what she wanted to say. She’d found a method of getting it into conversation, and had done it over and over again. I’m sure it didn’t roll off her tongue the first time, but with continued practice, it was just normal conversation for her.

How different would our world look today if even a small percentage of believers spoke with this kind of boldness and purpose? How can you be more like Tracy today?

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have.”
1 Peter 3:15

Your thoughts?