I stood in front of a Nandos on West street in the hustle-bustle, downtown Durban for 3 hours. The afternoon rain gave the passing taxis and cars that ripping paper sound as they drove by. A women who regularly begs in front of Nandos, sat to my left shaking a Gatorade bottle full of 50c coins and maybe a rand or too. I smiled and waved at her when I first walked by. She smiled slightly as she recognized the “Izindaba Ezinhle Zombuso Kankulunkulu” (means, “The Good News of the Kingdom of God” in Zulu) shirt and my hairy face (probably because of the McChicken sandwich I gave her the previous week). I stood amongst a myriad of street venders, peddlers who sold everything! But unlike the street venders, I wasn’t selling made-in-china iphone cases, haircuts, or handmade crafts; I was selling Izindaba Ezinhle Zombuso Kankulunkulu
I handed out leaflets which advertised a free 8-week Bible course at the BEC (Bible Education Centre) down the nearby ally. “Free Bible Course,” was all I said Tuesday afternoon—trying to get a pamphlet in the hand each of the passer-bys. After some time, I got quite good at picking up the small flinches and hand adjustments that indicated whether someone was going to take a flyer. It gets quite disheartening when people brisk past as if you were no better than the lamppost. The phone case salesman and the begging woman next to me looked past the people, starring into the tides of the passing traffic. I suppose everyone is immersed in their own world when one is walking through a mob of people you don’t know. Regardless, I kept smiling and trying to look at each face with outstretched leaflets.
I started out my shift by occasionally shouting, “Free Bible Course.” I eventually found it more productive to address my sales pitch to each and every person that passed by. After some time, I lost my voice to my 3 week cold. I was so tired by the end, but I managed to distribute the whole stack.
Mulling the whole experience over, it was silly to feel so tired from saying three simple words to everyone. (It’s not like I was giving some powerful soapbox monologue on speaker’s corner,) It is quite a monotonous job, pamphletting. I definitely couldn’t pamphlet as a full time job. But then I thought about God’s perspective. He’s not just selling a free Bible course, He’s selling (‘selling’ is a massive understatement) a relationship. He wants us, He wants everyone!, to know Him! (2 Peter 3:8)
The Father never gets tired standing in the rain on busy West Street on a Tuesday. Moreover, He doesn’t stop at three words to each passer-by. God longingly looks at each person, knowing exactly what thay needs, and speaks volumes of loving words to try to make their dreary Tuesday better and brighter. In fact, He has spent the better part of 4,000 years compiling and perfecting His love letters to each and every human on this planet. And maybe His letters can be summed up in three words. Some possibilities: “I Love You,” “Turn to Me,” “Only through Jesus,” etc (I’m interesting in hearing what your 3 word Gospel is!).
If you turn down the world of distraction around us, you can actually hear what He’s saying, even on West Street. You want to talk about dedication to a cause. 788,280 words (a rough estimate of the King James Version) of commitment to us, of comfort, peace, love, admiration, transformation, mercy, and grace. What an amazing Father we have.