Thursday, November 24, 2011
Your Part In It
Perhaps you have a child who has strayed away from the faith. Or a spouse who insists belligerently that religion is only a crutch for the wounded. Or a neighbour who seems to be checking out your slant on an issue "because of the Christian thing". He is curious.
You have prayed and taken what seemed to be a God-ordained opportunity to explain your hope in Christ. You get only the lack lustre answer, "How nice that must be for you."
What do you do next? Can you come on too strong? Can you dampen the process by poor timing?
It is good that you have these concerns. Remember Ezekiel's words in the 33rd chapter:
8When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
9Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
The testimony should focus on specific scriptural points. Your opinions are not life-begetting. God's word is. But then step back and pray. It will be the Spirit's work to show that individual his/her need.
And remember there is not a set of circumstances which cannot be used to draw that individual to the Cross. Is he popular? Lonely? Rich? Poor? Accomplished? Invisible to others? Bold? Timid? Law abiding? Felonious?
Every one of these scenarios can become tiresome. Unsatisfying. Hypocritical. Tenuous. And the individual will say as did the old Peggy Lee song, "Is that all there is?"
We have a neighbour who is in his nineties. Before sun-up every day he goes out and shuffle-jogs, carrying a walking stick in front of his chest. He is robust, prone to come out with an unanticipated joke or quip, perpetually smiling...a man of persistent good humour. Recently however I have seen the pride aspect to all of this. 'Yeah he has kept himself going with the positive formula in it all. He is disciplined, jolly and lucky...yesseree.'
Last Saturday outside the grocery store, he just couldn't wait to be "funny" with me one more time. I was almost tempted to say that the only reason now for his continuation down here is the matter of contract with Jesus. Unfinished business.
But no, God is in charge, and loves this chap with more than I could ever muster.
And oh yes, there are always facts in the thing unknown to me. But if he asks me again for the reason I have to hope...