Saturday, January 08, 2005

God & Guts

He stopped me on my walk this afternoon, an older somewhat overweight guy who lives a mile or so away. Over the past 10 or 11 months I have strolled by him often as he puttered about in his front yard. He saw me coming and literally stepped out in front of my path so it was obvious he wanted to talk although we have never spoken before beyond a cursory wave as I strolled by. I stopped, took off my headphones and shook his hand.

He was blunt,"Okay, so how much weight have you lost?"

I told him 60 to 70 pounds and he said, "My neighbors were asking me, 'Hey, what's that guy's secret' so I told them I'd stop you and ask."

I pushed aside the thought that my depleted gut was really the topic of a neighborhood conversation, and answered his questions about diet and exercise as politely as possible.

He nodded and mumbled something like, "I need to start doing that." I encouraged him as best I could, wished him well and plodded off.

That's my ideal vision of evangelism.

I've mentioned before that I consider the most effective outreach for Christ not to be organized church programs, formulas or slogans. I have nothing against such things, it's simply been my experience that seeing people live their lives in a true Christ-like manner has proven to be the best form of witness.

When I see folks like that, true Christians whose focus is on worshipping God and keeping their lives Christ centered, I invariably see people who have a good perspective on the world -most of the time their kids are pretty good kids, very rarely do I hear them talking negatively about anything much less anyone. When I have seen those folks, quite often I've thought, "I want to be like them."

I don't have to rush out into the street to stop and ask them what the secret is though.

Walk the walk...that's the key.