Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Groom (Jared) and the father of the Bride (me)

My good friend and country contact, Tito from Peru, preached at our missions conference Sunday morning. He did an amazing job. He always does. We share a bond that neither of us ever sought out. We each lost a son. We have each seen our ministry expanded as a result of the significant pain of those journeys.

I want to share his favorite story with you today.

A woman named Maria was a believer. She had failing eyesight that was more of an issue in low light. She cleaned the house of a woman she knew, for a living. Before accepting this position, she told the lady of the home that she had to take a couple of hours each afternoon to go into the marketplace to share the Gospel.

Knowing she had been called to share Christ with others, she had made a commitment to the Lord that she would share her faith with at least one person everyday. Maria had led many souls to Christ.

On this particular day, she had a great deal of work to do around the house. The result was that her opportunity to go out didn't come until much later in the day. When the time came she wondered, should I go, or should I not go?

The issue was her inability to see in the fading light of dusk. She feared she might get hit by a car or perhaps have some other accident. After pondering for a time, she decided she needed to honor her commitment to Christ, so she left.

She made her way down familiar streets, seeing almost no one.

She finally reached a bar where she could just make out the silhouette of a man out front. Clearly this was a bar, as this man was leaning back and looking up at his mug of beer which was being held out from his body by a fully extended arm.

Maria began to tell this man that the Lord did not want him to live a lifestyle of partying. That he needed to repent and receive Christ.

He did not move.

Realizing that he didn't respond, she tried again, only this time she placed her Bible between him and his drink.

Around that time, some of the people Maria went to church with wondered past the bar. They saw Maria, and recognized her. They kept their distance from her and began to whisper, "Maria has gone crazy."

What they could plainly see, and Maria could not, was that she was witnessing to a man made of wood. He was a statue in front of the bar.

The next morning was Sunday. Maria fulfilled her usual routine by heading off to the church early. She wanted to be able to clean and organize everything before services started.

As she was cleaning, others began to arrive. While Maria cleaned, they began to whisper to others about Maria and that she had "lost it." They giggled as they recounted the story of seeing her sharing with a man made of wood. The giggling turned to all out laughter as the story was relayed over and over.

Maria began to listen intently to the hushed tones of conversation. She picked up on the story and realized her mistake.

She made her way to the front of the church and clapped her hands and asked everyone to be quiet.

"It's true that I made a mistake," began Maria. "In the darkness I could not tell that the man I was sharing with, was made of wood." "However, to be honest with you, I would rather be a Christian who shares with a man made of wood, than a wooden Christian who never shares my faith with anyone."

While the mental pictures of this story are certainly humorous, I cannot help but wonder how many of us are like Maria, and how many of us are more like the rest.

Be intentional with your faith. Tell someone about Jesus, today.



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