11/27/15 Nick 30
He had a short break from his job at the restaurant, so he stepped outside for a smoke. The air was cold and brisk, the sky blue and sunny. Little did he know that on this short break he would face a decision that would affect him for all eternity. Everything seemed normal enough, people going about their business; cars driving by on the street; some shopper stopping nearby to fumble with something from his pocket; sharing a short laugh with a co-worker on his way out who had just ended his shift; finishing the last few puffs from his cigarette.
Suddenly the shopper turned to him and handed him something on paper, saying "Hey I'd like to give you this, it asks a great question about what will happen to you after you die. Is that something you think about very often?" The worker, Nick, was surprised by the random question and shook his head. "No I really don't give it much thought" he said. The shopper or preacher or whoever he was didn't seem surprised or judgmental, and he really seemed like he was interested and listening to what he had to say, so Nick felt free to answer some other questions the guy asked about his background. Nick said "I go to church once in a while, Christmas and Easter, but I really don't take it very seriously".
Nick heard some questions that he had never heard before, but they were so simple and logical he wondered why he had never considered them. The preacher guy explained simply and in a winsome way "Yes this life might seem important right now, but we are going to spend a lot more time in eternity than we are here on earth, so it would be important to take it seriously right?" and "Obviously, there is much more to our relationship to God than simply going to church, so how do you think God would judge you if you were to die tonight?"
Even though he was talking to a complete stranger, Nick's focus was not on the preacher guy but on the topic of eternity itself because the guy didn't speak to him in a distracting way or take the attention off of the topic of the conversation. He wasn't judging, angry, controlling, or trying to fit him into a mold, and he didn't have a predertermined script. He talked and listened naturally and Nick felt like it was the deepest and most honest conversation about something that truly mattered that he had had in years. It was hard to remember he was talking to a complete stranger!
Nick wanted to talk longer but had to get back to work. He was glad to get something to read from the guy, finally finding out his name - Jeff - and was so thankful for the conversation that he thanked him and shook his hand not just once but twice as he had forgotten that he had done so already! The preacher guy Jeff didn't try to pressure Nick into a premature decision about his beliefs, but gave enough of a sense of urgency that Nick will definitely read what he was given and take his relationship with God more seriously. He will see and hear God and the Gospel in a new light from now on. From now into eternity...