11/15/09 Charlie, about 50
Conversations don't have to be long to be helpful. At the grocery store I gave a miilion dollar bill tract to Charlie and pointed out the question on the back. He proudly stated "Oh I know I'm going to heaven!" and told me that God would say he is a good person on judgment day. He also told me that he attends a Baptist church so I asked "If you can get to heaven by being a good person, then what did Jesus come for?" He thought for a while about that and said he really didn't know. "You've heard people say that Jesus died for our sins right?" He told me he had but I could tell that the significance of this statement had clearly lost its meaning for him. My guess is that he had heard it so many times that he no longer stopped to think of its implications. It had joined the ranks of so many biblical terms and phrases that have been misused and overused to the point that their rich meaning and all their implications have been lost to people. No wonder Jesus used parables and illustrations to convey spiritual truths. I went on to explain some things to Charlie - that if he is good like he believes he is, then he wouldn't need Jesus, and if it were possible for him to earn his way to heaven then the Father wouldn't have sacrificed his only Son on our behalf. I tried to remind him of everything he should be hearing in church. It was a quick conversation, but one he won't quickly forget and will hopefully remember the next time spiritual truths try to go in one ear and out the other at church.