The night before the FaithWriters challenge topic was to be announced, I lay awake, praying, "Lord, I surrender this topic to you. I know tomorrow's entry will be what you want it to be. Help me discern Your will."
As I lay there, I wondered whether something that had already happened during the week might spark inspiration when the new topic was announced. My thoughts drifted back to the Thursday night discussion we had during Bible study with the homeless. It centered around Matthew 7:6, "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces."
Did this mean we should not offer the precious Gospel to those who were not "ready?" Didn't that fly in the face of Jesus' admonition that we go and make disciples of all nations?
I fell alseep.
Monday morning, as usual, I read my devotional and daily Bible passage wondering whether they, too, might somehow figure into the weekly challenge.
At 9 a.m., the challenge topic was announced: "LUGGAGE."
Luggage? I'm sorry, but did you say luggage?
I was drawing a complete blank, yet I put complete trust in God that He would provide inspiration. I quickly leaped to the obvious: We all carry spiritual baggage that must be jettisoned. How about that?
Just as quickly, I discarded that one as my own feeble attempt to make things work out MY way.
Maybe I should open up a Bible at random and put my finger on a passage to discern God's will? Nope, didn't have a Bible handy.
But how about a Google search?
I typed in "luggage" AND "Bible" and let it fly.
Only 311,000 entries came up. Halfway down the first page, leaping off the page, was a link to an October 2004 story about a pastor who was arrested at Nashville International Airport ... for declaring that the Bible in his LUGGAGE was a BOMB.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A pastor says he was "just kidding" when he ... reached into his luggage and pulled out a Bible, declaring, "This is my bomb."
Jose Gonzalez was having a frustrating time with airport security. Possibly due to a misunderstanding, security had found a laptop computer in his carry-on bag after he'd told them he didn't have one.
Something apparently snapped when they decided to do a complete search of the luggage, and Gonzalez announced he had a bomb. He plunged his hand into the bag (it is a miracle he wasn't shot at that instant) and pulled out his Bible saying, "This is my bomb."
The federal complaint filed against Gonzalez goes on to say that "He claimed he had used the term 'bomb' as a way of referring to the Bible as having the ability to change one's life."
His message was certainly true, but perhaps his delivery left something to be desired.
Kind of reminded me of, well, casting pearls before swine.
The message isn't that we can't ever provide something of spiritual value to unbelievers. We just have to recognize the right time and place. Proclaiming the explosive power of the Gospel might be more effective in a living room than it would be, say, standing next to a metal detector in the presense of a drug-sniffing dog.
Did God really lead me to this conclusion and to this Challenge entry? Or did I just Google my way into something completely on my own and interpret it myself?
I asked myself the same question.
You might recall my Google search was only for LUGGAGE and BIBLE. I never mentioned pigs, or swine, or pearls.
Yet here is the news entry that appeared directly below the one for October 20, 2004 about the pastor and the Bible bomb:
Muslims Raid Pig Farms, Butcher 'Offensive' Swine
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Muslims armed with machetes attacked several pig farms in Indonesia, slaughtering around 20 swine they claimed were giving of "offensive" odors, police and media reports said Thursday.
The story concludes:
The two faiths generally live in harmony, but disputes are sometimes triggered over the building of new churches and accusations that Christians are aggressively trying to convert Muslims.
Aggressively trying to convert? Like a Bible bomb at airport security, this may not always be the best way.
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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