Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)
By Rachel Burkum
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Most people find it difficult to review their past mistakes. Me…I find it a most horrific task. Seeing what I did, or rather what I <i>didn’t</i> do, makes my stomach churn worse than finding that chunky milk in the back of the refrigerator.
Reaching back as far as I can into my memory, I believe it started in high school. There was this other guy…Darin. He and I somehow ended up hanging out together more often than not. I was from the warm, caring family that, from the outside, looked perfect. He, on the other hand, was from a broken home that was slowly eating away at his self-esteem and outlook on life in general.
I saw the problem at the time. I could see he needed help. And I held the answer in the palm of my hand. But just like I stuffed those empty gum wrappers into my pocket, so went the one greatest thing I could share. Uttering the name of Jesus, unless in the middle of a flippant curse, just wasn’t cool.
Darin committed suicide during his junior year of high school.
You’d think that something like that would wake me up. Unfortunately, my ego and whatever that thing is in my head they call a brain, didn’t want to accept the horrid truth. I had failed.
It happened again when I was in college. I really liked Sarah. She liked me too…at least that’s what I convinced myself of. I faithfully…usually…sometimes went to church that year. Sarah didn’t have much free time, and Sunday mornings were simply the most convenient time to see each other. Church? The issue was on the tip of my tongue once. But approaching the subject of God just wasn’t something I felt needed to be tackled. She was nice…wasn’t that all that mattered?
She’s somewhere in California now, married to a movie star and hooked on fame, fortune and drugs. Yessiree, I did a good job on that one, too.
A few years ago, I got the job of a lifetime. Right up there on the tenth floor in a nice air-conditioned office. Apart from shooting paper airplanes across the hall, I had a lot to do with my coworker, Vance. Nice guy. Family. Kids. You’d think he’d be happy. But he was lacking that one thing that could bring peace.
But divulging the secret that I was a Christian in front of the other guys in the break room…I didn’t consider myself crazy enough.
Vance divorced six months ago. He’s living somewhere between here and the nearest bridge. I think I saw him last week down by the shelter.
My hindsight gets nearer to perfection every day. And the more I see what I’ve really done, the sicker I feel. I didn’t just fail those people – I failed God. I failed myself. And I call myself a Christian. I’m no more worthy to wear that title than my neighbor’s pig, wallowing in a mixture of mud and his own filth.
The nice thing about hindsight though, is that if used properly, it can be a tool to prevent history from repeating itself. I may be green around the gills while contemplating my shortcomings. But I’d much rather be sick temporarily and know it, than be sick for a lifetime and never realize I’m dying.
I’ve got a new neighbor. His name is Zack. Something tells me that he needs a relationship with the Lord, and I’m left standing at a fork in the road. One way is the same path I’ve headed down all my life. It’s the “Evangelize-When-Convenient” route. The easy one. The nice, wide path.
The other way is narrower and quite a ways out of my comfort zone. It’s the “Live-Like-Jesus” route. It’s got road signs reminding weary travelers that wearing the name of Christ is not something to be taken lightly. It provides a clear view of the truth – that showing Christ to others requires living a life of faith…a life of courage…a life of love.
To live out Christ is to share. If I don’t tell them, who will?
Hindsight is 20/20. What does your future look like?
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