Friday, June 11, 2004

That Crazy Invitation

When I became an honest to God, studyin' the Bible, goin' to church, tithin', singin' hymns Christian I was frightened.
How do you tell people who have for decades known a cynical pseudo agnostic former drunk and drug abuser that, well into adulthood, you've suddenly decided that God came back to earth as a baby, lived a sinless life, performed many miracles, then died for your sins and three days later came back to life?

It sounds crazy. It is crazy.

I didn't have a choice...I believed.

I couldn't conceal my faith, but still I wasn't one of those folks who had a sudden conversion and then went on a maniacal mission to save souls. I came to Christ gradually, and I wasn't in any hurry to witness to others. Quite frankly I didn't think I'd be very good at it.


"If for some reason today you feel God has spoken to you, we invite you to speak with someone. Michael Main is one of our deacons, he's on the second row..."

My Real Life Preacher says something to that effect almost every Sunday. The first time I heard it only one thought crossed my mind, "Holy crap! What if someone actually comes to me asking for spiritual advice?"

I never wanted to be a deacon.

I figured, quite rightly, that I was probably the least churched person in our church...surely there were better candidates...heck everyone was a better candidate as far as I could tell.

Make no mistake, I loved our church, but I didn't have any ministerial gifts. I went to the bible studies, and came to church service. I stayed afterwards to vacuum the floor. I sometimes took out the trash and made sure no one left any surprises un-flushed in the toilets. That was my contribution. It wasn't much, but no one else was rushing to do it...and it was a job I was knew I was capable of doing.

But helping guide someone to find God? That was a job for expert Christians...real church folks…people who spoke the language.

Over my objections, I was ordained a deacon in January of 2000.

One Sunday not long after that, Gordon made his usual closing invitation. Moments later a woman came up to me and said, "I need to talk to you, can we meet this week?" I was petrified, but I agreed. I had no choice...I was a deacon.

All week leading up that meeting I thought, "This is crazy, here's a woman going through some spiritual crisis, and I'm supposed to help her?"

It turned out she had heard from God. She said He was telling her to be more involved in church, but she didn't know how.

"Holy crap!" I thought, "I have an answer!"

I told her, "Come to church. Put your fanny in a seat every Sunday. Come to Sunday school and get your kids in Sunday school too. If you want to do more, grab a mop, and a bucket. Are you any good at cleaning toilets?"

I suppose that sounded crazy, but she took me up on my offer. She's now a serious disciple of Christ, and she and her kids clean the church toilets.

So this is how I witness. I show people how God worked in my life. I tell them I'm on the journey too and I don't have all the answers. I invite them to join me...and I warn them we may scrub toilets along the way.

Yes, it can be frightening, and it's certainly God works these things out.

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. - Psalm 25:9