The Tattoo

     As part of my weekly shopping trip, I picked up a selection of tracts at a Christian bookstore.  I was anxious to start sharing them. 
     I proceeded to one of my favorite little eateries.  Across from me sat the "all American family", or so I thought - two boys and their parents.  I started to think about an appropriate tract.  One, sure to get her attention, was about marriage.  But then, I noticed neither was wearing a wedding band.  Scratch that!
     Looking through the various possibilities, I kept one eye on them for clues.  Outside we were having a downpour.  When I caught her eye, I commented, "If only we could summon our cars to pick us up curbside."  She smiled and shook her head.  They were obviously finished but waiting for an opportune time to leave.
     Then I saw it!  A name was tattooed on her ankle.  What could that possibly mean?  It came to me that it must be someone very important, a brother perhaps, or a child.  And so I asked.  She told me it was their baby, who had died.  I said I was sorry and asked if she would like to know how she could spend eternity with him.  She assured me she did, and so I invited her to join me at my table.
     I shared the story of David, how while his child was sick, he fasted and prayed, but after he died, he rose, washed, and ate.  I explained that the baby died as a punishment for adultery.  Her eyes grew wide.  I was certain she was hearing this story for the first time.  I noted that David told his servants that the child could not come to him (from heaven) but he would go to him, indicating that babies go to heaven.
     Then I shared the gospel with her.  She politely listened and then said she had heard that before.  Maybe she had, but I sensed it had never penetrated.  I don't recall what I did at that point.  I may have prayed for her.   I may not have.  Either way, I felt a strong sense of disappointment.  So close, and yet so far away. 
      Later, I started to second guess myself.  What could I have done differently?  Where had I gone wrong?  And then I remembered,  the average person needs to hear the gospel at least 7 times before they respond.  I had planted a seed.  Maybe I was the second person or the third, I didn't know.  Maybe she would accept Christ at some point, maybe not. 
     I Corinthians 3:6-8 puts it this way, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.  So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase .  Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.


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