10/12/12 Larry about 50
"If I wanted a sermon I'd go to church" a man named Larry told me as I talked to him at the park today. I hadn't gotten preachy with him, I just asked a few questions about his beliefs, but the mere mention of any kind of accountability to God was enough to provoke a negative comment. "I just wanted to stop here at the park for a beer after work, I don't need to hear any of this God stuff" Larry said, and told me he doesn't believe in any kind of existence after we die, that he prefers not to think about it. "I can respect that," I said, "but just let me leave you with one thought - If what the Bible says is true, that we have an eternal soul and after we die we will be held accountable for our actions in this life, then where you spend eternity is definitely important to think about, right?" "Are you through yet?" "Yes, just let me leave you something to read later." "Then you'll be done?" "No problem" I said as I gave him a million dollar gospel tract with my contact information on it. Negative as Larry sounded, we still shook hands in mutual respect before I left. God gives us many gifts to use in evangelism, including common sense and the ability to listen. We need to use them. I believe had I insisted on continuing to talk, trusting in my own abilities rather than the Holy Spirit, Larry would have had good reason to focus on my stubborn refusal to listen rather than what I had actually said. Colossians 4:6 says " Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." People may be offended by our reminder of their accountability to God. We don't need to add to the offense by our own prideful insensitivity.