The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady
But where sin increased, grace increased all the more. Rom 5:20
I have a knack for it – saying that thing that sets others up for a joke. I don’t do it on purpose, it just happens – sometimes very publicly.
“I’m going to the campground.” I announced, stepping onto the Casino shuttle bus in Vicksburg, Mississippi. I’d spent the evening evangelizing at the Casino. I’d had many meaningful conversations but was a little disappointed that I hadn’t led anyone to Jesus. I’d also had an excellent seafood buffet. I did not gamble but have to confess that those quarters I give away were burning a hole in my pocket. On my first journey in 2002, God made it very clear that on these journeys, quarters were to be used for Him.
“What campsite are you in?” the driver asked.
“The very first site you come to - 1.”
“I can sure find that,” he said, laughing.
“Yep, I’m easy.” Talk about awkward silence. The driver and the two men on the bus were all thinking the same thing. I stood there a moment deciding between leaving it alone or quipping my way into an evangelism opening. You guessed it – I had everyone’s attention so I went for it.
“Well, I’m not easy. My husband probably wouldn’t like to hear I’m on a Casino bus announcing I’m easy.”
“Where is your husband?” one man asked. “Did you leave him there gambling?”
“Nope, he’s home praying for me.” Everyone laughed.
“Did his prayers work? How much did you win,” the same man asked.
“We’ll see after this bus ride. Actually, he was praying that I was winning but not what you might think. My job is to win souls for Jesus. I was at the Casino sharing the good news of Jesus.”
The man scowled. “I’m a Christian but I don’t think you should be sharing about this here. Seems like you’d have more luck at the homeless shelter where people are down on their luck.”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I saw some people here tonight down on their luck. What about you? Did you win?”
“No but I don’t think people want to here about Jesus while they’re gambling. Beside, you can’t talk to people about Jesus who are drinking. ”
“We need all the prayers we can get,” the bus driver chimed in. Comforting that the driver was joking about being a drinker.
“Actually you can talk to a drunk. The Gospel scriptures are powerful and will sober up a drunk. I’ve seen it happen many times. You’ll be surprised but I lead people to Jesus in these environments all the time.”
I turned to the man who had been silent the entire time. “Did you win?”
“No,” he said, shaking his head sadly. “I try to be a Christian but don’t know how good I am at it.” I suspected his gambling losses had been bigger than he expected.
“Do you go to church?”
“Not as much as I could.”
“Do you believe in Jesus?” He nodded firmly but looked down.
“Do you know where you are going in the next life?”
“I hope heaven but I’m not sure I’m going to make it.”
“I might not be easy but Jesus is,” I encouraged. “You don’t have to try so hard or worry about making it. The Bible says we’ve all sinned and fallen short. Yes, the wages of sin are death and you look like you believe that right now.” He nodded sadly.
“The Bible goes on to say the gift of God is eternal life and all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Calling on Jesus gets us to heaven – not being good enough and trying.”
“Here you are,” announced the bus driver. “We are at your campsite.” I knew he’d been listening to every word.
“I know we are at my campsite,” I continued. “But this is important and the kind driver will wait right here until we finish this. Would you like me to lead you in a prayer calling on Jesus as your Savior?”
“Yes, please,” he whispered.
I led him in a prayer. He said it firmly, especially the part asking for forgiveness and asking Jesus to be his savior. When we finished, I encouraged him to keep being good but explained that now he had the Holy Spirit helping. I resisted the urge to rush the end even though I was probably messing up the shuttle schedule. I told him that the Bible says all of heaven celebrates one person meeting Jesus and that an angel party was better than a Casino party. Everyone on the bus laughed one last time.
“Thank you for waiting,” I told the driver, quickly stepping off. I felt bad that I hadn’t confirmed his faith.
“No! Thank you!” he said firmly. “And I’m waiting here until you get locked inside.” I don’t know if he was thanking me because he was a Christian appreciating what had happened or if he had prayed along with the man sitting on the bus. I could tell by the warmth in his voice that he was saved.
As I stepped off the bus, I also resisted the urge to tell the proclaimed Christian, “I told you so.”
PS – I know my best friend Nancy Edwards is going to scold me for letting 3 men know I was staying alone in this campground but God is just going to have to protect me because this was meant to be.
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