5/23/14 Ricky about 30
“Mid-Course Correction” – Part 5 – (parts 1 to 4 are found below) - Now I know God is trying to tell me something! The fifth person I talked to, a man covered with tattoos and piercings named Ricky, about 30, whom I flagged down on his bike yesterday, gave me possibly the most clear and insightful explanation of the Gospel I have heard, not just the parrot-like spouting of verses and religious jargon that so many people who have grown up in a religious setting often give, but an explanation that in my opinion can only come from an insider, one who has lived and experienced life in Christ. Yet when I asked him where he attends church, he told me matter-of-factly and with no remorse “Oh I’m in total rebellion, I know that. I’m in a rock band and I’m having too much fun right now. I totally love rock and roll, drinking, and women!” I had to admit to him I have never met anyone who is so clear about their own rebellion, who is lost and totally knows they are lost. (However, now that I think about it, I think his brazen confidence came from his belief that the way back to God would be easy, not realizing how callous his heart is becoming) We talked for a while and I invited him to church, but I feel no desire to call or follow-up with Ricky like I did for the first three guys I wrote about in this series. My dialogue with the fourth man, Gerardo, helped me to see that I shouldn’t expect to need to follow up with everyone I talk to, that some like him have been given enough truth for now and God in His perfect timing will bring them to a place where they are ready to listen. This fifth conversation, with Ricky, now confirms that to me. It reminds me that there are various ways of responding to those who are lost according to Jesus’ parables in Luke 14 and 15. The Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin seem clear enough, with the lost being actively searched for until they are found. But in the Parable of the Great Banquet, those who initially reject the invitation are bypassed while follow-up energy is devoted to those who will accept it, and in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the Father waits for the young son to “come to his senses” and come home, where he is then warmly welcomed. Everyone is at a different place with God, and need to be responded to in different ways. I think this whole “mid-course correction” I’m going through is helping me to see my need to follow up with people, but also to be confident that I won’t be overwhelmed with this to the point where I no longer have time to reach out to others. Is this the last of my mid-course correction lessons? I have no idea, but I’m pretty sure it is not!