S173P10 – Opportunities taken: an open ear

Mk. 6:17-20

For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison.  He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married.  For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”  So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him.  But she was not able to, because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man.  When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.

Working the overnight shift meant that the office was practically empty and pretty quiet.  We got our work done, but we also did a lot of talking.  It was pretty early on in our conversations that the subject of faith arose as I often talked of what I had spent my weekends doing at church.  He was quick to let me know that he did not believe in God, but he never asked me to stop talking about my Lord.  He had questions, and I had answers, even if he felt the need to tell me why he disagreed with them.  Still, he never stopped showing curiosity in my faith for as long as I worked there, so I never stopped sharing it with him.  I might never know whether those words made their way into that hardened heart, but I spoke them.

John the Baptist had a strange relationship with King Herod.  They were not friends, although John certainly wanted the king to change his ways and join him for the Lord.  The king, although not a man of God, was clearly convicted.  He knew there was truth behind John’s words and his faith, because he feared him.  He did not see John’s words as the ravings of a madman.  Even though those words brought conviction, he was still interested in hearing them.  There seemed to be an open door there, and John was not shy about walking through it.   This was the king, a powerful and influential man to be revered and respected, but he was also just a man.  John did what he would have done for anyone who was lost and deceived, which was to share the message of repentance.

Sometimes when I speak to people in the world, I feel like I have to be slick about how I inject God into the conversation.  When I encounter resistance, I still test the waters further.  When someone shows the slightest interest in my faith, that is my green light.  John preached repentance to everyone, but he had a coveted opportunity with King Herod, and he took advantage of it.  If God gives us a special audience like that, we must be ready to speak while we have the chance.  We cannot think that these opportunities are only for a select few.  Father, give us the privilege of having spiritually influential opportunities that we could not even imagine with special audiences.