It Pays to Be a Fool for the Sake of Christ<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />September 15, 2003 (13)
While I was in a major airport, passing through security lines, I handed $1 million bills (gospel tracts in disguise) to the hardworking employees, commending them on a job well done. Some smiled and some laughed, "I'm rich! I can go home now!" Still others scowled and suspiciously eyed the bill for some sort of hidden advertising message.
Because I was just returning from an evangelism seminar, thoughts of the fate of the lost and of sharing the gospel with them were weighing fresh on my mind. I was eager to get the gospel into their hands any way I could, so that some might consider it and begin to wrestle with the issues of eternity. But I knew that the price for sharing my faith, either with my own mouth or through the voice of a striking piece of Christian literature, is sure to include ridicule and contempt.
I don't like being thought of as a religious wingding. Nor do I ever set out to act like one. However, some will inevitably see me and my actions as less than "appropriate" and look down their noses at me. But if I allowed my actions to be determined by what others think of what I do (that is, whether or not they think I am acting appropriately), then my life would surely be no different than theirs, and I would no longer be living for God, but for the approval of man.
So after handing out dozens of gospel tracts in the form of "cash," IQ tests, and movie flyers, I was refilling my tired body with a latte from Starbucks. There, I generously tipped the man behind the counter and the airport worker beside me with another $1 million. The worker asked me why I gave it to him and I said it was because I wanted him to read the back. He did and asked, "You're a Christian, aren't you?" I replied that I was and he asked if he could share a story with me. We sat down and talked during his coffee break as I waited for my plane to depart. He explained to me how he had become a Christian many years ago, but through life's circumstances had become discouraged about sharing his faith with others. I asked him why and he said, "You're like a lion right now-young and full of life. But there will come a time when something will happen to you, and you'll be injured and discouraged, and need someone to restore you. That's what has happened to me."
Although I was genuinely concerned about the things that were depressing and discouraging this man, I insisted that we must not let anything derail us from reaching the lost. Surely there is nothing that could ever happen to us in this life that could compare to the unspeakable horror of sinners finding themselves in "the lake of fire and brimstone." Even the most horrendous earthly pains cannot be compared to the experience of being cast into "outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." I wondered how I could encourage this man to get back into the game of trusting in God and sharing his faith boldly, when suddenly a concerned security guard approached me with an apology. He said he was sorry for speaking so sharply to me earlier when I had given him a Left Behind II: Tribulation Force gospel tract. He explained that his job was stressful and that he had unfortunately shown a bad attitude toward me. I was shocked. It had been forty-five minutes since I had given the tract to that man, and he was still holding it in his hand, thinking about it, allowing his conscience to move him to apologize because of an unkind attitude I didn't even know he had.
I stood up and thanked him for his integrity and tender conscience and asked him if he often listened so carefully to the voice of his conscience. He said he tried to, and began to open the conversation up further (right there in front of my other friend who was listening intently). It was obvious from our conversation that this man was not a Christian and since he had opened the door in humility, I gently asked him if he considered himself to be a good person. We went through the "Good Test" and then talked about sin, God's wrath, the cross, repentance, and faith in Jesus. I was feeling awfully bold that afternoon and asked this guy if he minded if I prayed for him and his family, and he said no. So we prayed-right there in the airport! I left him with an email address, he went back to work, my Christian buddy was encouraged by the whole encounter, and I boarded my plane (almost missing my flight!).
As I was flying home, I thought of what a wonderful morning it had been. I was tired, I wanted to go home, and along the way I had surely disappointed some of the people with my "religious zeal" when I handed them a tract. I thought of how easy it would have been to go back to the old Kirk, ducking the crowds, wearing the sunglasses and the baseball hat, not taking the chance of being ridiculed by anyone. But it was because of a change in my heart as a Christian, a sincere compassion for the lost, and a desire to see them safely in the arms of the Savior, that I did what I did. I really didn't do much, but God blessed my efforts (as foolish as they may seem to some), gave me the words to speak to people I didn't even know, and brought me two men who needed to hear the story of the God who loved them enough to die so that they could have eternal life. It pays to be a "fool" for the sake of Christ.
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