11/23/15 Jonathan 20
The young man at a table in McDonald’s quickly put down his phone when I walked up to ask him an interesting question – “What do you think happens after this life?” He seemed tough, busy and unapproachable, but turned out to be more than happy to talk about spiritual things. Jonathan, 20, had grown up attending a large Baptist church in another state, but had stopped church involvement when he moved to inner-city Chicago, focusing on keeping to himself and out of the gangs. He had trusted in Jesus for salvation years earlier, but now his first reaction to my question had been that he believed he would be judged by God to be good enough for heaven. Over time his faith had shifted from Jesus to faith in his own ability to be a good person.
It didn’t take long for me to help him remember his true faith relationship with Jesus, but how had he been distracted from that faith in the first place? I soon found out – he hadn’t read his Bible in over a year, and he has stopped attending church. “Would you go a year without eating?” I asked him “Of course not” “Well, reading the Bible, prayer and fellowship is our spiritual food. You’ve been distracted from your true faith in Jesus because you haven’t been feeding that faith with God’s word every day.”
There is a reason we eat our food a little at a time rather than a Thanksgiving-size meal only once in a while. We need time to digest so it can give us the physical nourishment we need, and we need spiritual disciplines such as Bible reading to give us our spiritual nourishment as well. Jonathan received my advice like a wake-up call, with many questions and much gratitude.
We need to reach out not only to unbelievers, but also to our brothers and sisters in Christ who have allowed the many distractions of this world to take their eyes off of Jesus.