Scott tried to study, but his heart just wasn’t in it this night. He glanced across the room where his roommate, Drew, sat at his desk, also attempting to learn something. For about the hundredth time, Scott considered having the talk with Drew that they both had been avoiding since Scott moved in more than six months ago.
He considered the idea, then rejected it. Immediately he started to question himself. He had begun to think of himself and Drew as a modern day version of Paul and Felix. He couldn’t understand why it was so difficult to speak about their differences.
“What am I afraid of?”
Ooops. Apparently Scott had spoken aloud without realizing it. It was an opening that he was about to abandon when suddenly he blurted out “I was just thinking that you and I are like Paul and Felix.”
“Who are Paul and Felix?” Drew asked.
“Paul is the Apostle Paul from the New Testament.”
“Oh,” said Drew, his face falling. “How ‘bout them Cowboys?”
“Hear me out on this. Paul had been arrested on some trumped up charges against him by the Jews, who wanted to kill him. As a Roman citizen, though, Paul had certain rights that had already been violated. Freedom was his if he wanted it, but he chose instead to remain in jail.”
Drew’s brows rose quizzically. “Why?”
“Because it was his purpose to witness his way up a line of Roman officials that included military commanders, bureaucrats, governors and, eventually, the Roman Emperor.“
“What does this have to do with you and me?”
Scott gathered his thoughts. “Felix was the first Governor Paul witnessed to on this journey. Like you, Felix was not a believer, but he and Paul got along. Honestly, I think Felix rather liked Paul quite a bit. He kept him around for two years while people who had a lot of money and power were calling for the man’s head.”
“Why would he do that?”
“Some believe that he thought Paul would eventually ransom himself with a great deal of money. Felix was a corrupt man. There was very little you couldn’t buy your way out of with him. I think that was why he kept Paul around in the beginning, but later on I think he was fascinated by Paul’s testimony.”
“So I’m Felix, you’re Paul and you’re feeling this burden to share your religion with me – that about it?”
Drew turned back to his studies. “Let’s not and say we did.”
Scott drew in an exasperated explosion of breath. “Why on earth not? We’ve talked about every other controversial topic – politics, global warming, girls, pizza…” he ticked them off on his hand as he named them. “Why not religion?”
“Because it always ends the same: You saying ‘repent’, me saying ‘no’ then you saying ‘go to hell’ – end of friendship.”
“You really believe it would go down that way?”
Drew shrugged. “Wouldn’t be the first time.”
Scott leaned forward, with his elbows on his knees. “I’m not going to be mad if you don’t convert to Christianity, Drew.”
“Why not? Isn’t that your job as a Christian?”
“To be angry with people?”
“No, to convince them to become Christians.”
Scott smiled. “No, not at all.”
“Huh?” Drew’s mouth turned down in confusion.
“My ‘job’, as you put it, is simply to tell you my story and how I came to believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world. Whether you convert, or not, is out of my hands. That’s between you and God. What’s been bothering me these last several months is that I’ve been reluctant to risk our friendship by telling you my testimony because I was afraid.”
“Afraid? Why were you afraid?”
“For the same reason you are. Big argument. Big fight. End of friendship.”
They sat in silence for a while. Finally Drew looked at Scott. “Do you really mean it when you say you aren’t going to be mad, when I don’t become a Christian?”
“Like I said, that’s not my call. Why would I get angry?”
“Okay, then. I’ll play Felix, you be Paul. Tell me this ‘testimony’ of yours. But first…you got any money?”
“Paul never paid Felix a dime.”
“Hmmpff. That’s not a very promising start.”
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