As part of the worldwide Bible translation ministry, we have the privilege of translating God’s Word into other languages and sharing it in written and oral forms. But God also expects us to be living translations of his Word, showing the world what He is like by the way we talk and act.
Jim*, one of our staff members, was traveling overseas and landed in an airport he hadn’t visited before. As he went through customs, he looked for the right place to declare an item he was carrying. Suddenly he heard someone call, “Jim! Jim!”He was sure that no one would know him there, but he turned around anyway. A young customs employee came up to him. “Do you remember me?” he asked. Caught completely off guard, Jim said, “I…I’m sorry, but I’m not sure I do.”
The young man told Jim that he used to work at another airport – one where Jim had landed several times. He said, “When you came through my line, you noticed that I was sad, and you prayed for me.”
Then Jim did remember him. The young man had been obviously distressed, his eyes red and tears running down his face. Jim had asked if he could help, and the young man had told him his little boy was dying of cancer. “May I pray for you?” Jim asked. He accepted the offer, and Jim prayed for him and his son.
Now the young man excitedly told Jim that his son had survived the cancer and was healthy again! He offered to help Jim handle the customs declaration and took Jim to his supervisor.
It was quickly evident to Jim that the supervisor was a believer. He said, “Our nation is blessed to have visitors like you.” Turning to the younger man, he said, “It’s like I always tell you: God is at work. He wants you to trust in him.” He stamped Jim’s papers “No duty.” Then he said to the young man, “Take our guest to his airplane and make sure he doesn’t get charged for overweight.”
After Jim checked in, the two of them had a cup of coffee together and talked about things of the Lord. The young man demonstrated a great deal of spiritual interest, and it seemed to Jim that he would soon make a decision to follow Christ.
Jim told me this story hesitantly, not wanting to call attention to himself, but wanting to share his awe at a big God who orchestrated not just one meeting, but two, and who worked through a simple expression of concern to speak into the heart of a needy person.
I’ve chosen to use it as a reminder to myself to be aware of the people I meet as I walk through each day, and to recognize the opportunities God gives me to be a living translation of his Good News.
*not his real name