I am sitting outside working in the park, watching cars drive by, watching people walk by, hearing the fire trucks and rescue truck go by a couple of times, planning our Sunday worship service, and enjoying a little cooler weather (83) under a cloudy sky with a light breeze blowing. It sounds busy now that I read it, but it's mostly passive.
I see this table I am sitting at has a carving in it … well, more of a scratching in the rubber coating on the steel frame. It must be pretty new. I have not seen it before.
It makes we wonder what “it” is.
I think the world has millions of people who want the ubiquitous “it” to be better, and a lot of those people live around us. We see them every day. We work with them, ride the bus with them, drive past them, order dinner from them, wave to them.
But they have no idea how to make “it” better. And we don't tell them.
So they pray to God, from the darkness of their soul, and hope somehow it all works out for them.
But they have no idea how God can make it better because they do not know what broke it to begin with.
And I am reminded that we are the ones commissioned by God to tell them what broke it (sin) and how God makes it better (Jesus).
This is the same table where earlier this afternoon I had a 45 minute conversation with a lady who was making a bracelet out of colored string. We worked our way to the gospel and how a person might get to heaven.
This lady spoke of how she has told her friends that there is life after death. She tells me that in the past several years she has found old friends and tried to resolve old issues. She spoke of how she needed to return to a certain church she used to attend and resolve some disputes (her words) that caused her to leave there.
She said she hoped when she died that God would see her good efforts and have mercy on her for them and consider her worthy to get into heaven.
She’s living with her daughter now a few blocks away but she is hoping to get a place out on East Jefferson near the river because it’s so peaceful there. But I sensed from her words that the peace she talks of has nothing to do with the peace Jesus bought for at Calvary.
I showed her some verses about how heaven is a free gift, and how you can't buy it with good works. Not even really good works. You can't make an good omelet if you include one bad egg.
I explained to her how Jesus was good for us (because we can't be) and how he died in place of us (so that we don't have to). I talked to her about total trust in Jesus, kind of like getting on an airplane. You can't reserve some trust for anything else, even if it's a good thing (like the ground). You gotta put it all on Jesus.
A million things now come to mind that I wish I had said. But I didn’t think of it then.
It makes me wish I was a little quicker on my feet. But then I would probably trust my mental quickness rather than the Spirit of God. Next time, I will have another gospel encounter under my belt that will help me to be more clear, and hopefully the Spirit will use my inadequacies this time and my memory next time.
But I will need to be bold enough to speak up and speak out.
And wise enough to listen carefully and listen quietly.
And I have to remember not to win arguments, but to preach Jesus.
So on Sunday I will preach. Hopefully she will be there with her grandchildren. She said she would be.
And hopefully she, along with others, will understand that Jesus is the reason that we can pray to God to make it better because Jesus is the one who fixed the problem that broke it to begin with.