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The Car, The Fish, And The Wheelchair

1 June 2011 No Comment

The following is a short and powerful account of evangelism in everyday life.

It came to me today via email from Ian Thomson, one of the elders at Bethlehem Community Church in Tauranga, New Zealand.

I will share with you the lessons I learned from this account at the end.

“The other day I was parked in Spring Street waiting in my car for Fay (my wife) to finish work. As I sat there I noticed in my rear view mirror a young man coming towards me on the road in his wheelchair.

As he got closer he stopped and looked for several minutes at the back of our car. He then came down the side of the car and stopped at my window. What he had been looking at was the fish symbol that we have on the boot of our car.

He seemed to have some understanding of what it meant but ours is a little different in that it has Greek lettering contained within the outline of the fish.

I explained what the letters meant and asked if he was a Christian and he replied that he liked to go to St Peters (Presbyterian) across the road.

I then asked whether he had a computer to which he replied yes but that it was broken. I showed him the “Bible in 11 minutes” card and immediately he said he could access the website. He took the card eagerly from me and took off down the street.

Please pray for this young guy. He may go to church but has he heard the Gospel? If he has looked at the website he will now have received the good news and the power of God will be at work. Praise the Lord.

As for the Greek letters within the fish they spell the Greek word for fish.









What are the lessons here from Ian’s encounter? There are four.

1) Ian was public about his faith. He stuck a fish on his car. He wanted people to know he was a Christian. He went public.  Many people want to keep quiet about Jesus and their faith. They are ashamed of Him. What other explanation can there be? It is an oxymoron to be ‘a private Christian’ just as it would be silly to think of Jesus coming to earth as a secret Saviour.

Jesus said ‘If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you.’  (Matthew 10:32-33).  In other words, if we are this kind of person here on earth, at the final judgement, which all of us will face, Jesus is going to be embarrassed introducing us to the angels and the great cloud of witnesses in heaven. It will be the opposite of ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’  Many commentators would go further and say that being ashamed of Jesus is a mark of the unconverted. I agree.

2) Ian was looking. Jesus said ‘Watch and pray’ (Matthew 26:41). What does this mean? It means going into a day, watching and looking for opportunities to share one’s faith. Many people pray a prayer that’s never made much sense to me – ‘Lord, make the opportunities for me.’

This is passive evangelism.  Jesus calls us to active evangelism.  In the parables of the lost sheep and the lost penny, the shepherd went looking and the women went searching. They didn’t pray ‘Lord, if it be your will, bring the sheep back’ and ‘Lord, if it be your will, bring the penny to me while I sit here.’

This is not to say that the Holy Spirit does not sometimes drop opportunities right into our lap. Clearly He does, but it is the exception to how He works, not the norm.

‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel’(Mark 16:15) is an active command.  The Greek word for ‘watch’ carries with it the idea of being alert and vigilant.  Ian was just that. He was looking out for someone, and was ready.

3) Ian was prepared. If someone asked him about the fish, he had to know what the Greek letters meant.  Not only that, but Ian when one step further – he had a packet of business cards with him. To view these, click here Biblein11designs.  The front of the card has the words “Yep, the whole Bible summarised in 11 minutes”. These cards are business card in size.

We even have a set especially for women now in hot pink! To view these, click here Hot pink cards

4) Finally, Ian went to prayer. No evangelism is complete without prayer.

We do the sowing, the Holy Spirit does the converting. Evangelism is a partnership.  We are the little players, God does the main bit. So we acknowledge this truth and dependence upon God by praying.

Ian, you did for this man his wheelchair what Philip did for the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40.  Just as Philip was the bridge to Jesus for the Eunuch, so you were the bridge for this dear man in His wheelchair. How good is that! What a lovely thought to go to bed with.

Action point: Get some cards by emailing me at or text 0274764430. They are $25 for 100, plus a courier to get them to you. Then go to prayer, and ‘watch and pray’.  If you take on board Ian’s example, you’ll have your own testimonies in no time, and the sweet memories that go with them.

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