Jogging track becomes harvest field
Jonathan Baldwin runs about three miles every other day before work, and he generally aims to run his second mile on the Rosemont Middle School track next to the Southwestern campus. A Ph.D. student in the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions, Baldwin desires to share the Gospel with “every living person,” and he often prays for more opportunities to do so. He struggles, however, with the fact that God has been planting these opportunities in the middle of his exercise routine.
“The last thing a runner wants to do is stop and talk to someone in the middle of his run,” Baldwin says. “But the last thing a servant of Jesus Christ wants to do is be disobedient to his Master.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 1, after Baldwin finished running his second mile on the middle school’s jogging track, he began walking alongside fellow exerciser Luccero, a woman in her 40s, and her friend. He greeted them and quickly determined that the two did not have a relationship with God.
As they proceeded to journey along the track together, a frog jumped out at them, eliciting a scream from the two women. Baldwin laughed, but then he realized that God had just opened a door.
“I have been listening to a sermon series this morning on the book of Exodus,” Baldwin told the women. “God used frogs to attack Egypt.”
Baldwin explained that the Egyptians were disobedient to God. In fact, he continued, the Bible teaches that every person has been disobedient to God, and the wages of such disobedience is death.
“What you earn from your sin is death,” Baldwin said. “So your sinful lifestyle is stealing your breath.”
Baldwin shared the Gospel with the two, explaining that though the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life in the Lord Jesus Christ. Though her friend was not as responsive, Luccero clearly received the message.
“If you stood before God this very moment, what would He say about you?” Baldwin asked her. Luccero replied, “He would say that I was a sinner and I was going to hell.”
“She understood her need for Jesus and His work on the cross, but she was having a hard time trusting in His resurrection,” Baldwin recalls. As they walked another lap around the track, Baldwin read Peter’s sermon from Acts 2:22-36. When he finished reading, Luccero said she was ready to surrender her life to Jesus, the risen Lord and Savior.
They prayed together, and Baldwin then walked her through the Great Commission. Baldwin says that by the end of their meeting, Luccero understood her need to share the Good News with others, go through believer’s baptism in a local church, and read and obey the Word of God.
“This is probably one of the best ways to start the day,” Baldwin says, despite the interruption in his exercise routine. “I’m thankful that God gave me this opportunity, and I can’t wait for the next one.”