Our verse for today comes from John 4:39, ” And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’ “
Restaurants have certain policies regarding their customers, and the way in which they do business. Nearly every establishment not located at the beach will require its patrons to wear shoes and a shirt. The fanciest often demand a coat and tie be worn, and even insist upon a reservation if you plan on dining there. Some accept certain credit cards and do not accept others. Recently I noticed these prohibitions written on the door of a pizza place located at a local strip mall: No checks (very common). No soliciting (also not unexpected).
No pets (sensible). No food or drinks from other establishments (perhaps a little nit-picky).
But I saved the best for last: No shopping carts inside. Now, how many times did a customer wander in for a large pepperoni pizza or stromboli, pushing a shopping cart, to where the management decided they had to explicitly ban such acts from their restaurant? Had it become commonplace for customers to do their grocery shopping at the other end of the mall and then swing by for lunch or dinner before taking their groceries to their car? Whatever the case, customers no longer have to worry about being bumped by a shopping cart on the way to the salad bar.
Banning certain behavior or operating with a significant list of prohibitions can certainly shape the who and what that cross your paths or get close to you. But is that the best way to carry out the great commission? Jesus met a Samaritan woman at the well who had a history probably fit for cable television. But in his conversation with her, wherein he revealed the nature of her entire past, not once did he condemn or proscribe. He simply shared truth with her, and in that truth which elevated and glorified Christ, she saw the Savior for who He was.
And so moved was she that she ran back to town to tell the men what she had heard. The truth in grace from Jesus had immediately transformed her into a missionary that eventually led to the salvation of many in her town. No word or sign can forbid enough behavior to transform lives in that way.
As we seek Him today, let the positive message of grace and mercy penetrate you such that the compelling love of Jesus can penetrate others.