There are certain areas of large cities where I know I will be visited by people with very interesting stories to tell about their lives. Those places are sometimes called ‘the hood’. Although these people have lived amazing lives, those lifestyles are not the type most observers would choose for themselves. However, they are the ones Jesus seems to get great pleasure getting involved in.
I had three onlookers who stopped at different times to watch me paint en plein air on a street corner in South Central Los Angeles. The first was a retired cook who wanted to learn to draw. I gave him some pointers on rendering perspective and talked to him about Jesus. He was a Christian, so we had some good fellowship.
Next, I was joined by a 47-year-old man who was cut like a 23-year-old body builder. He said he had spent many years in the penitentiary for murder and major drug running. However, he said he has been clean for some years and now had a respectable business. When I told him about Jesus, he said he was a Mason. I told him about Jesus and asked him if I could pray with him. He wouldn’t pray with me, but he was glad to let me pray for him. When I began to pray, he bowed his head and folded his hands, unashamed to be seen praying in public.
My last visitor at this site was a prostitute. She got very excited and enthusiastic as she watched me paint. When I asked her what talent she had, she said at first that she had none. When I told her that God has given everyone talent(s), she said she liked to sing. I said that she should use that talent for God. I could sense that she was being drawn to God, but suddenly she noticed a man cruising slowly down the street in a big shiny car. She abruptly ended the conversation and rushed over to talk to the John.
The Godly Gangsta
It’s very important that you are ‘prayed-up’ before you go to any street corner to paint and talk to curious onlookers about Jesus. However, it is also good that you serve up the gospel in the flavor of the people you’re ministering to. The scriptures state, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Read I Corinthians 9:19-23 That doesn’t mean that you put on a show that is unnatural to you in an attempt to identify with others. They will see right through that. However, if you’re painting and preaching where dealers and hookers hang out, it won’t hurt to show you’ve got a little Godly gangsta in you. If you don’t have that, leave that area of ministry to someone who does…unless God specifically tells you to go there. Then you can go with the faith and confidence that He will bring victory in that situation.
What interesting experiences have you had taking the gospel to others?