Sunday, May 8, 2011

Conversations along the Way

Cheri and I spent 6 ½ hours in the car today on our way home from Austin’s graduation from Asbury University in Kentucky.  We canceled our subscription to satellite radio a few months ago, so instead of listening to the constant chatter of Fox News or ESPN, we spent a lot of time talking today.  As we drove through Chattanooga toward Atlanta, we started talking about how easy it can be to have a “church life” and a “secular life”.  As Christians, we shouldn’t have two separate lives.  Our Christian walk should be consistent seven days a week, 24 hours a day.  We shouldn’t live by one set of rules at church, and another set of rules away from church.  As an example, is there a movie we would go to see if nobody from church was around that we wouldn’t go to see if we were with a group of friends from church?  Are there jokes we are willing to tell at the office or at the neighborhood pool that we wouldn’t dare tell while standing around with friends at church?  Why are we willing to behave differently around our church friends and our non-church friends?

We then talked about how people that we are in contact with everyday can tell that we are Christians.  Do we walk around quoting Bible verses all day or blasting our worship tunes from our cars so loudly that it can be heard three blocks away?  Do we pronounce judgment on the crude language spoken by our co-workers or condemn their choice of favorite TV shows or their choice of music?  These actions would only serve to drive them away from us, when our goal should be to show them what it means to have a relationship with Jesus.

When we got home and unpacked the car, we sat down to watch the sermon we missed at church today ( on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern time).  Before it got started, I was scrolling through my newsfeeds on Facebook and saw a verse that was posted on the Medical Missions Ministries fan page.  Colossians 4:5-6 in the NLT says “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”

We realized this was exactly what we were talking about.  Who appeals more to you?  Someone who is profane, insulting or condescending or someone who is gracious to you and listens to what you have to say?  If our conversation is gracious and attractive, we earn the opportunity to show others and tell others that there is nothing better than having a relationship with Jesus.

What are some ways to be gracious?  Realize that it’s often okay to allow someone to be wrong and not correct them.  Have a healthy discussion about your difference in political viewpoints without resorting to calling those who don’t share your views idiots.  Ask people about themselves and let them talk without interrupting them to tell them your own story.  Show genuine concern for those in need, and help when you can. 

Do these things, and when the opportunity comes to share Jesus, do it with boldness and kindness.  That is our calling.

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