1/4/14 Sal, Jerry, Jeff middle age
When sharing the Gospel, we need to learn to keep the main thing the main thing. I reached out to a couple guys named Sal and Jerry at McDonalds, who quickly identified themselves as Christians and wanted to know where I stood on the issue of Jesus’ return – will He come back before or after the predicted time of tribulation? “I hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Besides, what does it matter? For each one of us, our appointment with eternity could be any day – nobody is guaranteed another day of life!” I explained, and we soon went on to talk of other, more essential things. Sal had become a Christian while incarcerated years ago, and happened to attend another location of my church but said he no longer goes to church due to disagreements over doctrinal issues. Jerry said he had become a Christian through Sal’s influence, and they both complained that although they hang out at McDonald’s hoping to share their faith, “Nobody cares, nobody wants to talk about these things”. About that time their friend Jeff walked in, and while he was up getting coffee, they told me “Jeff is the same way. He never wants to talk about religion. We think he’s an atheist.” After Jeff sat down and I introduced myself also as Jeff, I said “I want to give you the same question I asked your friends. What do you think happens after this life?” Jeff believes he will go to heaven because of his good deeds, and we went on to a great gospel conversation including many great questions on Jeff’s part. While Sal was away buying me coffee, Jeff complained “He talks a lot about his beliefs, but really doesn’t do well with repenting of his sins”, so when Sal came back to sit down we had a good talk about that. I believe Sal’s difficulties with various doctrinal issues are a smokescreen - an excuse not to get involved with church - and the arguments it creates give him a good excuse not to share his faith with his friends and others, putting the blame on them instead. “We need to understand that there are primary and secondary issues when it comes to Christianity. Some things having to do with salvation and our relationship with God simply aren’t negotiable, but others are secondary issues that many faithful Christians disagree on. We’ve got to keep the main thing, the main thing.” They were really glad I did, and invited me to come talk with them anytime.