When I was in college, I remember Jim McGuiggan sharing with us a parable. It was about a wicked and God-hating officer in the British Army, who told about how he was converted to Christianity.
The officer related that one night, a Christian in his platoon came in from sentry duty. He was very tired and wet, and yet, before going to bed he got down on his knees to pray.
The officer, at this time, just a simple private, responded to this act of piety in a harsh way. He took one boot and threw as hard as he could at the Christian's head. Bull’s eye!
The Christian groaned and prayed, groaned and prayed. So the private grabbed his other boot and threw it as hard as he could at the Christian’s head and, again, nailed his target.
The Christian moaned, groaned, rubbed his head—and he prayed. He moaned and prayed, moaned and prayed.
As the Christian continued moaning and praying, his antagonist fell asleep. The following morning, the private awoke and found that the Christian had polished his boots; they stood in perfect formation beside his bed.
This act of humility broke the private’s heart. This loving work of service propelled the private on a road to conversion.
The Christian servant reminds me of Paul’s portrayal of Jesus in Philippians 2. Jesus models for us what it means to put others’ needs above our own, including those needs of our enemies. Perhaps with such loving humility, we can persuade more to turn to Jesus.