While making chaplain visits at a hospital, the radiator in my car sprung a leak. I had my car towed to a nearby repair shop where the repairman and I had a long and interesting discussion.
He had left his church and neglected to care for his faith; although, he still confessed the basics. We enjoyed talking about the Christian faith together, and before I left, he told me how to take care of my radiator so that it would not rust out again.
When I sent in payment for the bill, I included a letter urging him to reconnect with God’s Word. I explained that just as rust had eaten through my radiator and wrecked it, so sin corrodes and wrecks an unprotected faith. We can lose our faith and become stuck in God’s eternal judgment. By reading and hearing God’s Word, the Holy Spirit acts like a radiator. It washes and flushes faith with a preserving power. If I follow his instructions, my radiator will be kept from corroding. If he follows God’s instructions, his faith will be kept from rusting out. God wants to preserve our gift of faith and keep it from rusting out. My radiator breakdown had become an opportunity for my sharing the hope of Jesus and helping him keep his faith.
Many years later, I met the same man again when he was in the hospital for physical repairs. He had requested a chaplain visit, and when I walked into the room, I realized that this was the same man who had fixed my radiator years ago. He remembered me and the letter I had enclosed with my payment. We talked about his faith and life. While he never joined a church, he had visited various churches. A concerned neighbor also shared the good news of Jesus with him. After our visit, his faith was again flushed with the Holy Spirit’s preserving and renewing work.
Perhaps the next time you hear someone complaining about the rust on their car, you can turn it into an opportunity to warn about the rust of sin and share the life-preserving love of Jesus Christ. That’s what I call rust evangelism!