3/26/13 Keith about 35
I went to a McDonald’s hoping to initiate a Gospel conversation, where I found a man named Keith reading on his computer. He cautiously agreed to answer my “interesting question”, and when I asked what he thought happens after this life he pointed to his t-shirt and looked at me with an expression that basically said “Duh, pretty obvious isn’t it?” At first I thought it was a t-shirt promoting a casino or something but upon closer inspection I could see it said “Don’t gamble with eternity” in a fancy font along with some very small scripture references. He seemed to think his shirt did all the talking for him as a Christian, but I wanted to see what he had to say himself. As we talked it appeared that he has, indeed, put his faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of his sins and his hope of salvation. However, he is not involved in a local church and is very much distracted from the truth of the Bible by all the threats, warnings, conspiracies, false teachers, and “inside information” found on the internet and TV. He admitted that even as I approached him there at his table, he had been reading one such website that he didn’t even want to disclose. He had a general attitude of paranoia when talking about all this, even to the point of lowering his voice and looking around the restaurant when mentioning certain “secret societies” to see if anyone was eavesdropping on our conversation. Keith seems to me to be a perfect example of what happens when we allow our faith in Jesus to stagnate into a self-centered defensiveness. Our salvation is by grace alone but our growth in Christ requires initiative on our part – initiative in prayer, reading the Bible, participation in a local body of believers, and, perhaps most neglected, sharing our faith with the lost. How different would Keith’s relationship with the Lord be if his primary goal was to glorify God by reaching out to others in obedience to Jesus, rather than simply self-preservation? They say the best defense is a good offense, and I believe this is true of the church as the role of Christianity declines in our culture. We must avoid reactionary and stagnant defensiveness and be the proactive, Spirit-led, “salt and light” people in our culture that we are meant to be.