“You are the light of the world.… Let your light shine before men” Matthew 5:14-16
I have a lot of favorite stories, but this one has to rank near the top. My friend Paul Eshleman is the founder of the Jesus Film Project, which arguably has been the most important evangelistic outreach of the last 50 years—perhaps in the history of the church.
When Paul was strategizing how to market the film globally, he got an audience with the marketing group of a major Hollywood media conglomerate to get their advice.
The meeting provided the impetus for the international launch of the film. In fact, as of today the Jesus Film has been translated into over a thousand different languages and millions have come to know Christ as their Savior. But as significant as the extraordinary outcomes have been, God had an additional plan for that meeting in Hollywood. The marketing executive who chaired the meeting pulled Paul aside afterward and asked, “Could I talk to you for a minute?”
They went into his office and the executive began his story. “My wife and I had a child that was deathly ill. One day as I was walking down the hall, I noticed through the crack in my maid’s door that my maid was on her knees. Later I asked her, ‘Are you okay?’”
“‘I’m fine,’ she said, ‘Why do you ask?’”
“‘Well, I saw you on your knees in your room.’”
“‘Oh, I was praying,’ she replied. ‘Every day since your baby took ill I have been praying that God will heal your child. In fact, when I came here to work I started praying every day that when you and your wife leave and go out to work that you would be successful and that God will prosper you.’”
The executive explained to Paul, “After that we brought her down to the front door every morning to pronounce a benediction on us when we left. And more importantly, thanks to our maid’s prayers, our baby recovered.”
“And then,” he continued, “not long after that my wife was diagnosed with what looked like incurable cancer. One night, as she lay in the hospital, I was deeply troubled and decided to walk down the street to our synagogue hoping to talk to my rabbi. But it was bingo night so I kept walking. A couple blocks later I noticed a church with the front doors open.”
“When I walked in, the pastor said, ‘Can I help you?’ and I poured out my heart to him. He put his arms around me and prayed for me.”
“The next day I went to the hospital and my doctor said, ‘I thought you were Jewish.’”
“I am Jewish!”
“‘Well if you’re Jewish, then what was that pastor doing here all night sitting next to your wife’s bedside ministering to her?’”
The executive concluded the conversation by saying: “Paul, last week our maid died and I have nobody to get me to God. Can you help me?” And before Paul left, that executive was on his knees asking Christ into his heart.
Don’t miss the heroes of the story—three people who lit up Hollywood with far brighter lights than those on the silver screen: a praying maid, a compassionate pastor, and my friend Paul who had the privilege of turning on the light of Jesus in a Jewish executive’s heart.
And don’t miss the point of the story—you and I, regardless of our station in life, can be lights for Jesus by taking every opportunity to faithfully bring the love of Jesus to those who need it most!
- Who are some of the “lights” God used to draw you to Him? How did they impact your life?
- Take a few minutes to do an honest self-check on how bright your light for Christ is. What steps can you take to brighten the witness of your actions in the week ahead? Be specific. Check up on yourself!
- List out some of the people who need to see the light of Christ in your life. Pray for specific opportunities to encourage, bless, and serve them today.