OBEY THE PROMPTING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT – the BANK GUARD
In 1999 I was walking back to my car from Auckland University along Princes Ave when, near the traffic lights, I glanced across the road to look at the Jewish Synagogue. To my surprise I discovered it had since been transformed into a National Bank! Outside the front doors stood a guard. I'd never seen anyone guarding a bank before in NZ so I stood there and thought about this for a few seconds, wondering what he was doing. I was on my way to pick up my car from a garage about 15 minutes walk away. A couple of times I thought “I’m not going that way (to the bank), it’s across the road, what if he’s unfriendly, what if...?” But in my spirit I had an over-riding nagging urgency to go and talk to the guard.
Eventually I put the doubts aside, crossed the road & approached the guard. “Are you guarding this bank, sir?” I asked. “Yes,” the man replied. “This bank has been robbed so many times in recent months that they've posted a permanent guard here and I’m it!” I continued, “It must be a lonely job standing on your own outside a bank.” “Oh no,” he replied with a smile, “this is much better than my usual job as night security watchman checking properties in Mangere!” I smiled and thought to myself, “I won’t tell him that I live in Mangere!” I noticed his name-tag – “John Santaris” - and asked if he was Greek? My assumption was correct and we talked about Greece for about 5 minutes.
John then told me that he'd had a dream a few weeks back and it had stayed with him. He wanted to tell someone. He even thought of telling his Greek Orthodox priest but thought the priest wouldn’t listen. He didn't know who could help him. He paused & then asked if he could tell me. I agreed. He began, "I saw a man standing in front of me, like you are now. His hair was as white as white as white. His eyes were...well, almost like they were on fire. His body was shining..." While he finished the description, I drew out of my backpack my pocket New Testament and excitedly turned to Rev 1:14. When he'd finished, I said to him "Would you please read to me these lines (pointing to the verse) and he began to read - "His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire..." he continued reading but his voice got quieter and quieter. Finally he stopped and suddenly said, "THIS IS THE MAN FROM MY DREAM! WHO IS THIS MAN?"
I told him it was Jesus. He stopped, shocked and then said "How did you know this was in this book? What IS this book?" I replied it was the Bible. I asked John if he had one? "I have a Greek Bible. Is that any good?" I smiled and replied that the New Testament was originally written in Greek! I told him where to find the passage and to read it when he got home. He asked if I could give him any more material about Jesus? I got his name and address and forwarded him some material. (Sadly he moved later and I lost track of him. But I still pray for him from time to time.) John shook my hand, thanked me so much for stopping and I went on my way rejoicing.
Why had I crossed the road and talked to a complete stranger? I believe in hindsight that it was because the Holy Spirit was leading me. Initially there was a battle because the enemy of our souls (Satan) didn’t want me to do what I was about to do. He hates seeing Jesus get any glory and he bends over backwards to get us to deny His Lordship. Time and time again I’ve had thoughts of worthlessness & doubt enter my mind when I’ve thought of talking to someone about Jesus, especially a stranger. That’s a whole subject in itself which I shall no doubt mention again. But once I remind myself that this is one of Satan’s tricks, then I can just go and let the Spirit lead from there. Hence the case here.
Of course I didn’t know he was going to tell me about a dream he had had. On my way over, I didn’t consider the various scenarios that might have happened. I just prayed that something good would happen. I hoped at the least just to cheer up the man’s day. That’s always the least hope I have when talking with someone.
My first thought had been “Why is there a guard guarding a bank in NZ?” That was the question I took to the guard. From this question, which I now believe the Lord had put into my mind across the street, the Spirit took over, prompting the guard to tell me the dream. Lesson 1: Run with the initial first thought. Warning: Watch out, after the first thought, for subsequent thoughts which Satan will quickly throw in to put me off. Action: If there is any way I can start a conversation with the stranger, do it now. Reminder: I am witnessing because Jesus commanded me, not because I do or don’t feel like it.
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This is so wonderful! Makes me think of all the opportunities to share the gospel that I lost just because I listened to my fears and Satan's whispers rather than the Holy Spirit's quiet promptings. Thank you for sharing this.