Imagine you’re a college student in a religion class. The teacher assigns you to talk to people in the street and really try to “git out there” and “dig deep!” They bus you into a downtownish area of a city, drop you off, and there you are. Feeling like a grumpy child yet?
Cold approaches are hard enough. The poor class though . . . approached a group of hardcore LCMS pastors’ wives’. At least three of them did.
One hung back. One was a real go getter, eager to engage. As in, wouldn’t let us go. I mean, I tried to warn her. I said things like, “Oh, I’m so glad you love Jesus and worship the Trinity. We’re a group of pastors’ wives’ on retreat!” (Admittedly, I’m used to being approached by LDS-ers.)
The second fellow came in to try to rescue her when I started disagreeing with her. Maybe that’s just my perspective. He came in, obviously with some potential for going into the ministry himself, and tried to assuage our arguments. Being Christian pastors’ wives’ attending church regularly, worshiping the Triune God, remaining in Scripture, just wasn’t quite enough without a believer’s baptism and apparently a postcard directing us to a certain church.
Now, I can become outspoken. I try to be a gentle person, but my switch can be turned. I refuted some of their arguments against faith alone pretty hard. But all of a sudden it was like I was the grumpy child. I got sulky about all the things Protestantism would deny me, you know, like the forgiveness of sins from a pastor and the bodily presence of my Lord and Savior on the altar and in my mouth.
I learned a lot that day. Evening. On the way to get chips, queso, and possibly an adult beverage from a local Mexican joint. I saw how absolutely clearly they needed the Gospel while I kept fighting this . . . element of begrudging.
No joke. They let us go when it was time to head back to the bus. The PWs who were with me were marvelous, emphasizing God’s gifts, speaking Scripture, etc.
The third one . . . who I hadn’t recognized was even with them. Too busy giving hermeneutic tips to the fellow, in case he became a pastor, and still trying to answer the questions the initial girl kept throwing at me, the third one approached us and asked for a website so she could learn more. Spelled it back to be sure she got it right.
Thank You, Lord, that we could give them Gospel. Thank You that I even noticed the intellectual switch that could have ruined our opportunity! I’m sorry I kept feeling it try to rear its twisted head.
I can be a grumpy child of God. Lord, have mercy. But, Lord, please help all of us recognize it when its the truth!
Sometimes I miss the fervor of college years: late nights, deep conversations, probing questions, and a certain intensity I’ve largely lost. At the same time, folks? The gifts of the Gospel, and the depth of the theology God has written out for us one word at a time in Scripture? They are amazing! It is only our fallen tendencies that would twist away from them and a full appreciation for them.
We are tremendously blessed. And, we get to use our words to revel and sink further into theological gifts like the consolation of the brethren and random religious discourses! Amazing!!
Scared of evangelism? I can be. I admire how those students did it, even if, well, they wouldn’t let us go and couldn’t give us the full goods. They were preachin’ to the choir and the choir was better catechized and versed in Scripture. But, thank You Lord, that as we talked to them, we were remembering Your gifts and revelation for ourselves, too.
Lord, help us to turn from being a grumpy child to a sharing one, particularly with Your revelation in the Gospel. Help us to use our words according to Your Will and delight! Amen.