7/30/16 John about 30
Three people, three stories. A quick outreach to other drivers while fueling up at the gas station covered a pretty wide spectrum of believe and unbelief. I used “million dollar” gospel tracts as conversation starters, asking the million dollar question – “Will you go to heaven when you die?” The first man wanted nothing to do with me, saying he had no belief in God and didn’t want to talk about it. I said “I hope you don’t mind if I say ‘God bless you’”, to which he grudgingly agreed, and I moved along. The second responded with faith in Jesus and told how he had come to repentance and faith at a young age and is now actively passing the gospel on to his children. The third man – John – a truck driver who had just arrived to deliver gas, had not really given the question much thought but responded with interest. He had assumed his good deeds in life would save him, that they would outweigh his sins on a sort of heavenly balance scale. But he also agreed that God is right to expect us to do good, that we can’t use the good we ought to do to pay for the sins we ought not to do. We couldn’t talk long but I encouraged him to put his faith in Jesus rather than in himself and his good works. He appreciated my simple explanation thanked me for talking with him.
Three quick conversations, and I believe each can be used by God. The first man could benefit simply from the question “Will you go to heaven?” May it ring in his ears and in his memory until he is driven to seek an answer. My "God bless you" was really a prayer that I trust God will answer. The second man, the believer who shares his faith with his children, may he begin to see the many opportunities to share the gospel all around him as well. I challenged him to share his faith, and the fact that our conversation had begun through my outreach efforts had backed up my words with action. Then he watched as I reached out to the gas truck driver, who responded positively.
These were three different people with three very different responses. They are typical, but which of the three do you think would be by far the most common, the atheist rejecting a conversation, the Christian who welcomed it, or John, who was just going about his business in life, content in his belief that he is a “good enough” person and therefore indifferent to the things of God? In my experience by far the most common has been the third person, John. He is the kind of person who is open enough to the things of God that he will respond to our outreach efforts, but indifferent enough that he won’t find his way to God on his own. Maybe that’s why Jesus told us to go into all the world, rather than to wait until the world comes to us.