Have you ever been with a group of people and felt like you just needed to talk to that person over there?
A sense that God was pointing out that particular person?
Philip (in the Acts 8 story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch) noticed the man in the chariot
So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch . . . The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”Acts 8:27-29
Philip was prompted to “Go Stand next to THAT chariot.”
Of all the chariots on the road that day, he was prompted to go next to one.
Impromptu Moment with Friends
Maybe you have been with a friend talking in the coffee shop.
You have this unmistakable sense that they want to talk with you about their faith or your faith in Jesus.
Or maybe your friend has surprised you and started opening up about their faith struggle and search for God?
What are these moments?
These moments when you have a sense of God pointing them out to you have the potential to become kairos moments.
These are the moments where we as Christians are aware of the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit to pay attention more carefully.
They are a sense that a faith sharing conversation might be coming.
The are moments that are full of possibilities for a person’s spiritual journey towards Christ, where the person who are talking with may make more steps closer in their relationship with Jesus.
Some might call these divine appointments.
I call them kairos moments.
Here are some examples of kairos moments:
- God’s presence is with us. – My tutor hears the gospel
- Divine Appointment – a wrong phone number
- Is he a PC USA Pastor? – Divine moment in Cracker Barrel
- What is an Evangelist? – Student wants a definition
- Divine Appointment at a Highway Rest Stop –
- Evangelism Motives: Why bother? – taxi driver shares Jesus
Each conversation moment has been prepared by the Holy Spirit ahead of time.
Thanks to the working of the Holy Spirit each person made another step forward towards discovering their relationship with Christ.
Some people search for God
The biblical story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) shows us something about these kairos moments.
Noticing people and divine appointments turns out to be more art than science.
Verse one says; “Jesus entered and walked through Jericho.”
Luke transitions from story to story with phrases letting you know that Christ was on the move.
On this particular day he came across a shunned tax collector named Zacchaeus, whom we would place in the category of lost people.
Nevertheless, verse 3 says that Zacchaeus “wanted desperately to see Jesus” (The Message).
The Greek rendering of the word “desperately” is zateo.
Zateo carries with it a meaning of a frantic pursuit. This is a very dramatic and passionate verb that Luke uses.
If you lost your child in a crowded public space, “zateo” describes the desperate search.
If your passport is missing the night before your international flight, zateo is the word to express the intensity of searching.
Do we believe that some people zateo Jesus?
They have been prepared and are so full of spiritual thirst they will do anything to find the water of life?
Jesus looks for them, rewarding their search.
Here’s what’s remarkable about Jesus. As he’s traveling along, he comes upon an ordinary tree and then does something extraordinary; he stops and notices! Jesus is busy, the religious crowd wants his attention and yet he stops and stares up at a tree. Go figure!
With all the travel language in the book of Luke, when Jesus stops it’s a big deal. What really happened at that tree could not be seen, the beauty is in the unseen.
When Jesus stopped at the tree of Zacchaeus, he ascribed worth to him and said that Zacchaeus mattered.
This was Jesus’ paradigm for letting people know that he cared about them—he stopped and noticed them. It wasn’t what Jesus said that was so compelling but what he did. In the economy of Jesus, Zaccheus had high value.
Others may grumble because you don’t do evangelism right.
Verse 7 says, “Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumbled, ‘What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?’ “
Jesus was not playing the part correctly.
He was supposed to let Zacchaeus know how much he didn’t approve of his sin and share “the gospel” with him, which starts with an explanation of his failures.
Instead, Jesus stopped, noticed, called him by name and had a conversation with him on his turf.
The story ends with Jesus making this statement, “For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”
The Greek verb that is translated ‘find and restore’ is none other than zateo.
The Art of Noticing People
Jesus passionately pursues the people formerly known as lost.
Jesus profoundly impacted Zacchaeus, not by sharing good news with him, but by being good news to him on that day.
Jesus stopped and noticed.
If we want to be on mission with Jesus, we’ll need to relearn the lost art of noticing.
Some of those conversations will go deep.
Some of those conversations that happen will go deep. Others will remain shallow.
I have experienced lots of kairos moments like this.
When I notice a person in a similar way Jesus saw Zaccheus, the opportunity to offer a piece of the gospel happens.
Sometimes I get to harvest what others have sown.
Other times I get to water what was already there.
Sometimes I get to plant a seed for the first time.
It all starts with noticing those promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Image credit: xiaohuan / 123RF Stock Photo
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