The messy means God used to convert me: For evangelism, the Bible often uses the analogy of farming. Jesus used it several times and even in the Old Testament we see such statements as “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap” (Ecclesiastes 11:4). Certainly, part of the idea of these analogies is that evangelistic work requires getting messy. The primary substance the farmer employs, after all, is dirt. Getting the Gospel seeds into our hearts requires digging into a mess. That is precisely what those who won me to Christ had to do. They left their pristine palaces of peace and descended to the tumultuous trailer park which my grandfather owned and in which my alcoholic family lived. This church bus captain kicked aside the piles of beer cans to climb the steps to the front door of our double-wide trailer. He was armed physically with only a piece of bubble gum, but spiritually he was armed with something infinitely more powerful- love. Billy Thompson was his name. This man injected himself into our messy lives every week. He even took his own vehicle and began picking me up on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights. And on those trips to church he listened to my messy teenage problems- problems with my girlfriend, problems at home, social problems at school… and he cared. He became a friend to me, taking me to football games and other venues for relationship building. And before long, what was in my heart toward him was the same as that which was on the lips of Ruth: “…where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” I had thought that Christians were a self-righteous lot and hamstrung by weakness. I found in this man one who was willing to be seen often and by everyone with the very rough likes of me. I found in him a strength that I never had considered before- the strength of happy condescension. He found himself in awkward positions as he stood in my yard listening to the screaming of my drunken mother, and other such conditions- but he endured it gladly to bring me to Christ. This is genuine biblical evangelism. It is what we see as we behold Jesus stooping and drawing in the dirt as the adulteress’s accusers demanded her stoning. It is what we see as Jesus sits on the well in that land he “must needs go through” to convert the sinful Samaritan woman. And it is what we must see more of in our culture if Christianity is to last in it another generation.