A Library Table, a Geneva Bible, and a Mormon

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We all have our own lives, our own families.

And, at least for me, it is easy to get caught up in personal things.

Keeping up with my part-time job, making shopping lists, dreaming up healthy menu plans, plowing through my reading list, doing chores around our small farm…

A small-time girl in a small-time town.

Not too long ago, a young friend of mine confided that she didn’t feel like she was having much of an impact on anyone. She attends a private high school, goes to church with her family, and enjoys looking after her two younger siblings. For her, life is full of routine — not much chance for lasting impact.

Maybe you’re there too? Wrapped in a round of everyday activities and occasional outings, wondering if there is something you’re missing. Wondering if you’re really making a difference on anyone or anything at all.

I understand.

There’s not really a secret to finding your “place of impact.” Nor is it necessarily a single place.

In the first place, my farm chores, and my friend’s church activities, and your “everyday” schedule are all places of impact.

Yes.

Even in front of your sink drying the 105th plate, or in class trying to scrounge up the tu form of a Spanish verb. Even up to your elbows in suds giving your little brother a bath, or when you’re alone in your room reading the next book on your shelf. Even when you’re singing your favorite song to yourself, or when you’re sliding in next to your mom on the church pew.

Or, in my case, when I went to the library on Friday with little more ambition than getting an audio book and putting in a few hours on my job.

It was my interest in history that did it.

As I sat there answering emails and researching educational companies, a girl around fifteen years old and a woman I assumed was her mother sat down across the table from me. I continued to work, and the girl soon got up to find a book. She returned a few moments later with a thick black book. A Bible. A very, very big Bible.

Nosy girl that I am, I craned my neck at the gold letters stamped on the front. Ah. That was it. It was a Geneva Bible.

The people across from me were studying the cover with curiosity. The woman made a comment to the girl about not knowing what a Geneva Bible was. I think she thought it was some cult Bible.

And there I went. I launched into my 9th grade Western Civilization speech: “The Geneva Bible was the Bible the Pilgrims used when they came to America. It was the common Bible before the King James Version, which was printed in 1611, came into common use.” I smiled and continued the spiel, with a condensed version of the invention of the printing press, the Protestant Reformation, and Henry VIII’s split from the Catholic church.

Both of them now looked at me with their curiosity. “You are either a history major or you go to church,” the woman said. Her husband came up and joined in on the discussion.

And from there, we jumped into a lengthy conversation about theology — the woman and her husband were Mormons, the girl (a neighbor of theirs, not a daughter) attended a Church of Christ. They had never heard of the Trinity in their lives. They didn’t believe Jesus is God in the flesh.

I spent the next hour or so outlining the orthodox Christian doctrine of the Trinity, frantically praying and trying to dredge up all the verses I could think of that support my belief in the Trinity.

I left the library a while later, with two sets of addresses and phone numbers (the girl’s and the woman’s), having promised to send them copies of my blog posts, and feeling a good deal of awe at the sovereignty of God.

You see, I don’t usually do this. I don’t usually get into theological discussions over library tables.

I’ve often thought, “Oh, I don’t have an impact with that sort of thing. Conversations about Christianity don’t seem to come to me as naturally as others.”

But then God put a Mormon lady and a searching girl in my path.

Here’s the thing:

I didn’t know all the right verses. The things I had studied gave me a place to start, but I didn’t have the perfect speech. I had to poke around a little and figure out exactly “what kind” of Mormons they were. I was unsure.

But it was wonderful.

Because, you see, God led me right into the appointment He had planned for me. And the most beautiful thing was this: sitting behind that library table, my soul was crying out to God for wisdom, for answers, for the right words to help these people understand the truths that are so beloved to me.

Making an impact right then was not something I could do on my own. But it was something that God could do through me.

What things do you have to do that feel pointless, like you aren’t changing anything for the better? Believe me: nothing you do is without impact.

Other people are watching — they see our smiles that we forget about, our diligence when we’re “just doing what’s right.” People see. And God often uses those small-time things to change lives.

Like a conversation that started with a small-town library table and a thick Geneva Bible.

 

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