4/1 12 Gabe, about 35
I was out for a jog on a quiet country road yesterday, listening to the Bible on my MP3 player, and decided to look for a witnessing opportunity. I saw a bicyclist heading toward me from a distance. It's easy to dismiss situations like this by choosing to believe that people are in too much of a hurry or simply wouldn't want to talk to a stranger, but this man was very willing to tell me about his beliefs. I just had to ask! He - Gabe - grew up Episcopelean and loved their traditional worship services, full of ceremony and liturgy that gave him a sense of predictability and well-being. When he joined the army, however, all the chapel services were conducted in the more informal Baptist style, and he lost interest and stopped attending. Now that he has a family of his own, he never attends church or gives it much thought. He has questions about eternity, but doesn't really know where to begin to look for answers. I try to avoid getting stuck in debate over secondary issues like worship styles in order to get to the essential issues of our relationship with God and our need for a Savior. However, it just seemed that Gabe places too much importance on tradition and hardly any on the Bible, and this has led him down a dead end that has left him with no interest in religion at all, so we talked about this for a while. The reason he gave for his lack of interest in the Bible was that everyone interprets it differently. My experience has been that this is just a lame excuse for people who aren't willing to do what it says. There are far too many passages that are crystal clear in their intended meaning for this excuse to hold any water, and what faithful Christians find out is that when you are obedient to follow what is clearly written in the Bible, the unclear passages begin to make sense too. I encouraged Gabe to read the Bible for himself, and to attend a church where he can learn more about God's word rather than man's traditions. As I continued my run, I was amazed that the very part of the Bible I was listening to - Colossians 2 - had a lot to say about this very issue. Both Gabe and I reached our jogging/biking goals and turned around so that we met again on the road, so I told him what I had just been listening too. Better for him to hear it from God's word than just to hear it from me!