Three empty seats

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It was the flight from Delhi to Bangalore. The plane was about to take off. When across the isle I spotted three empty seats—my ticket to happiness and a peaceful, quiet flight.

All I needed to do was jump across the isle just as the doors were shut for take off and those seats were mine to stretch out on.

I looked left to the Indian guy sitting next to me. The thought crossed my mind that I should stay and strike up a conversation.

But what’s more important? My need for sleep or his need to know about Jesus?

I remembered what happened to Jonah and decided I would stay put and get to know him.

Sitting next to me was Yousuf (Joseph). He works in marketing for top clothing company. His name told me he was a Muslim. So I started asking him about his faith.

We agreed that Islam and Christianity has a lot in common—our belief in one God who expects us to live righteously. He told me of the respect and reverence he had for Jesus as a prophet of God.

I shared with him that there was an important difference between our faiths—in Jesus God came looking for us on a rescue mission. Our best efforts will never be enough. We need God’s forgiveness through Jesus’ death on the cross.

I told him the parable of the Lost Son, how the father forgave his son before the son had done anything to repay him. Through Jesus we are sons, not slaves.

Then I asked him that old preacher’s question: If you stood before God today, would you know that your sins are forgiven?

The answer was, No. He was deep in thought, and then he told me, “I have a Christian friend who was going to get me a copy of the Bible in Hindi, but he keeps forgetting.” I told him I’d send him one.

We often think that loving people and sharing the gospel are somehow opposed to each other. As we swapped addresses at the end of the flight I realised Yousuf and I had become friends because I’d shared the gospel with him.

Giving up those three seats was well worth it.