Jeff Taylor, The Winchester Star
About a year ago, I discovered a new Asian fusion restaurant. I'm not sure how many times I drove by and saw the signs before I ventured in. But I'm sure glad I did.
It's called Wok Zone in Winchester, Va., and the food is outstanding, the prices are fair and the service is fantastic.
Since then, I've shared my love of Wok Zone with as many people as I possibly can. And why not? It may sound silly, but I found something delicious that's brought me happiness and I have confidence others will enjoy it, too.
I'm not naïve. I accept that not everyone will be interested. They may have a similar restaurant they’re already happy with. Their taste may be completely different or perhaps Asian food simply isn't their thing.
But has that stopped me from sharing? Absolutely not. I've offered my discovery liberally, knowing that even if they disagree, our friendships are on solid ground — I'd never know if I didn’t ask.
I suspect you've done the same. And it’s not just great food we're excited to share. How many times have you seen a movie, read a book or tried a new diet that you couldn't wait to share with someone else?
That's what people do. We exercise agency, decide what’s important to us and then desire to share that discovery with others. Our instincts tell us that what's good for us will be good for those we love.
Oddly enough, my restaurant experience reminds me of another discovery.
As a teenager, I discovered for myself that the church I’d been attending was the most delicious thing in my life. I'd been going with my family for years to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but never really partaken of the full menu — I'd only nibbled here and there. Once I did, I loved it and I couldn't wait to share with my friends.
I introduced the LDS Church to my two closest friends of that era. One joined the church a few years later while attending BYU with me and I was honored to attend his wedding in the temple.
My other friend investigated the church and decided he wasn't interested, but it didn't affect our relationship in the least. I respected his faith, he respected mine and our families remain very close all these years later. He’s one of the finest Christians I’ve ever known.
How many others have I shared my Mormon faith with in the years since? Not enough. For some reason the older I’ve gotten, the tougher it’s become.
Why is it easier to broadcast something as temporary as my affection for a new restaurant than to share something as eternal and lasting as my faith?
Shouldn’t we approach missionary work with the same level of enthusiasm?
Recently, I’ve spent time pondering and evaluating everyone I’ve ever personally shared my faith with. I can’t recall a single soul who’s become offended, asked me never to call again or ridiculed me for opening my mouth. Many have said “Thanks, but no thank you." But none have said, “How dare you share something that brings you such happiness?”
If you stop and do the same — consider everyone you’ve made a deliberate effort to share your religion with — can you find anyone who’s ended your friendship as a result of your bold testimony?
No matter our faith, whether Protestant, Presbyterian, Methodist or Mormon, we should all desire to share what's delicious to us with others. And what if we don’t?
I understand in the next life it's unlikely anyone will approach me with tears in their eyes and tell me how much they wish I had introduced them to my favorite Chinese restaurant.
But isn’t it possible someone could approach me and ask why I never shared my faith? “You had something so precious in your life, a faith that I could have relied on and a community of believers that would have strengthened my family. Why didn’t you tell me?"
I don’t want to have any of those conversations. Do you?
I invite everyone to share what matters most. If it brings you happiness, share it. If it brings you comfort and peace in a troubled world, share it. If it bonds your family together, share it with other families.
If it’s so delicious, then tell the world why. Because it’s likely to be the most important discovery you’ll ever share.
Jason F. Wright is a New York Times best-selling author of 10 books, including "Christmas Jars," "The Wednesday Letters," and "The 96th Annual Apple Valley Barn Dance." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or jasonfwright.com.
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