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John Grady: Gifts of the spirit in action

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john-grady-fsj-faithMy wife Sandra and I had attended an International Christian conference in a foreign country. We were about to return to Canada when we were advised that there was an unexpected plane delay for at least a couple of hours.

We went into the City and did some walking and looking at some storefronts that Sandra didn’t feel comfortable going into when all of a sudden Sandra decided the store we were directly in front of was the right store to go into. I must confess I am not a good shopper unless I have a specific item to buy and truth be told I don’t enjoy shop browsing at all.

Being a husband trying to do the right thing (I had no other option as there was nothing else to do), I trudged with Sandra into this good size store and as Sandra was beginning to look around, I spotted this empty chair in the middle of the store and joyfully plunked myself down letting Sandra know where I would be. As I was sitting relaxing in this chair, I was approached by a gentleman in his mid-30s who engaged me in a conversation explaining he was the manager of a similar store in the chain but, on this day, he was requested by Head Office to manage the store we were presently in as the regular manager had phoned in sick.

Our conversation led him to ask the typical tourist questions about why we were in the Country and during the conversation I advised him we had just attended an International Christian Conference and were heading back to Canada.

In all honesty I was tired and not overly spiritually motivated when he kept pressing me about me being a Christian and letting me know that he was a proud and committed man of an Eastern faith. He kept pushing his faith and his religious belief when unexpectedly and all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “I have called this man to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to his own people.” 

I was startled at the word from the Holy Spirit but shared with this man, “The Lord, Jesus Christ wants you to know He has called you to preach His Gospel to your own people.” 

The man looked at me with the most shocked expression and out of nowhere started weeping right in the middle of the store. He was a broken man trying desperately to regain his composure. He eventually started sharing with me the fallacies of his own religion and how he was forced for custom and family reasons to pretend to be faithful to the faith. He then went on to share a dream he had, which started as a young boy where he was pretending to be preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to his own people, just like Billy Graham whom he saw on television.

For obvious reasons he had kept this secret dream in his heart all of his life telling no one about it. He recognized that this word had to have come from God as he knew no one else knew about this dream he had secretly carried in his heart.

You can imagine the shock to Sandra and the sales lady as they approached us with this manager on his knees praying to receive Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. There were hugs, tears, and joy all around as this man came into the Kingdom of God. We ensured that Christians in the Country would follow up with him but the key was the Holy Spirit knew what was hidden in this man’s heart as He had placed it there and only He could have revealed it to this man in such a unique way.

Spiritual gifts as noted in Corinthians are just that, a gift from the Lord that He gives to each one that is open, just as He determines. They are not for us personally but for us to use for His purposes.


John Grady lives and writes in Fort St. John.