By Bill Knott
The young couple between me and the airline window smiled as I slid into my aisle seat.
After I buckled my seatbelt, the husband leaned forward.
“We’re Jim and Amy,” he said, offering his hand. “Glad we’re flying together.”
Unaccustomed to such graciousness from airline seatmates, I returned the smile, and murmured a question about their reasons for making this three-hour flight.
“Oh, we work for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We’re on our way to a convention,” Amy said cheerfully. “What are you headed to?”
“A speaking appointment,” I said wearily.
I wasn’t eager to launch into a theological conversation when I was already tired and hoping to sleep.
In moments, they had deftly extracted from me my identity as an Adventist pastor and editor, and my plans to preach at a camp meeting far from my Maryland home.
“Really?” they said, eyes widening with obvious delight. “Would you mind terribly if we asked you some questions about your faith? You see, we’ve never actually met a real, live Seventh-day Adventist, and there’s a lot we’d like to know.”
So unfolded my favorite airline conversation ever—a thoughtful interchange that ranged from the seventh-day Sabbath to the Second Coming to Adventist lifestyle practices. We even talked about the Spirit of Prophecy—after a grinning 20-year old two rows back (who had obviously been listening) urged Jim and Amy, “Ask him about Ellen G. White!”
Three hours later, after many questions and earnest prayer, we parted in the airport terminal, sensing that we had done something Jesus very much wanted us to do.
There are millions like Jim and Amy out there—dedicated followers of Jesus who just now are gathered in some other faith, but still fully attentive to the Great Shepherd’s voice.
“Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice” (John 10:16) Jesus says.
How will they hear unless we start conversations, build friendships, and share faith?
As you read this month’s feature on how the wider Seventh-day Adventist Church talks with other world faiths, pray for those whom the Spirit is even now leading into a conversation with you.