Exactly a month ago, I was at a bus stop talking to an elderly man about God. He told me that he’s not really into the Bible but that he’s got his own version of God (and that he’s quite comfortable with that). He was a kind man and quite fond of God’s kindness to him. Let me explain.
He assured me that he’s on good terms with God. He told me about a couple of serious accidents that he endured and, with God’s help, fully recovered from. He acknowledged that it was God who kept him and helped him recover. As far as he was concerned, he didn’t need God’s mercy; God’s smile was upon him.
Time for me to speak
I listened to him for a while. And after he shared, I sensed the boldness of God to share some words from Jesus. I wanted to share what Jesus said about God being kind to the wicked. Indeed, God’s kindness is not a full proof indication that one is on good terms with God. So I told him, “You know what, everything you’re sharing makes me think of a passage of Scripture I read recently. It’s in Luke’s Gospel. Just one second. Let me find it.” (I pulled out my Bible and starting flipping around in Luke). I stood there searching and searching and searching. I keep telling him, I’m gonna find it; just one minute. This went on and on and on. No joke, I think at least 3 minutes passed! I felt like an idiot. I couldn’t find it! Where is that verse! The bus came. We said our good bye’s and that was it. I didn’t tell him anything!
I blew it!
I had the perfect chance to speak the Word of Christ into his life, but I didn’t have it memorized; and worse, I couldn’t find the address! I failed. This is especially bad because I had been struck by these words of Christ just beforehand and assumed I’d remember them! Bad assumption. So afterwards, I found the passage, and drilled it into my head, saying over and over (aloud), “Luke 6:35, 6:35, 6:35!”
In Luke 6:35, Jesus says of God, “he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Those are some pretty startling words to deal with. You should memorize this reference with me. Countless unbelievers appeal to God’s kindness to them as an indication that they are certainly in his good books. Well, though they may think this way, Jesus certainly doesn’t. God is kind to all. Assurance of being in his good books must be determined another way.
But the lesson to be learned here is this: memorize the reference!
Though I blew it, I know that man’s eternal welfare doesn’t hinge on my performance. May the Lord be kind to him with the loving-kindness of salvation.