Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)
- TITLE: Silver and Gold
By Joanney Uthe
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One is Silver, the other Gold.”
Our annual Thank God for Friends Thanksgiving Dinner was an overwhelming success that year; in more ways than one. I’d made lots of new friends at the church where I started attending. It wasn’t that God wasn’t part of my life before, but I’d walked away from Him and had now rededicated my life. On top of that, my husband took a new job out of state, so this would be the last Thanksgiving Dinner with this group of friends. We had a record attendance of about 25 guests. The tables were set up all over the house, including the recently finished basement.
The church we attended was evangelical in nature, but I knew most of my non-church friends from a Twelve-Step group. We had a strict rule that while we could express our religious beliefs, we could not try to convince anyone that ours were right. Most of my friends knew where I stood on the issue of spirituality, but the rule made my faith less threatening to those friends that were homosexual, Wiccan, or sworn atheists.
As people’s plates were emptied and they leaned back into their chairs, one friend of my Twelve-Step friends decided to ask a question of everyone at the table, suggesting that we go around the table to answer it. I looked at everyone sitting in the basement family room, and cringed at what I expected to be Jane’s reaction to the answers she would get. Jane, an atheist, was the only friend at the table that I knew from somewhere other than from church.
As a result of her suggestion that she would like to hear everyone’s philosophy of life, Jane listened to the testimony of eight to ten people with whom she had just spent the afternoon fellowshipping. The testimonies ranged from drastic changes to childhood decisions to just knowing that something was missing. All along, I watched Jane, expecting her to show regret for her question. Instead, I saw fascination; perhaps even a hunger.
As the last of the testimonies was given, and Jane started to answer the question herself, we heard a very distinct laugh from upstairs. My friend Betty was mentally handicapped, partially from the abuse of her childhood. Yet Betty was a very fun-loving spirit and had found peace in her life through her faith.
Jane looked up, as if she could see her best friend as clearly as we could all hear her. “I don’t believe in God. But I look at Betty and all that she’s been through; locked in the closet as a child, sexually abused and beaten by her dad. Yet, she’s been able to forgive him and has come so far. I’ve watched over the last year since she became a Quaker and I’m starting to think there might be something to this God thing.”
I had not planned the Thanksgiving Dinner to be anything more than an opportunity to celebrate the friends through whom God had blessed us. Yet it turned into what we would later learn to call a “Matthew Party.” We invited Christians to the same party which we invited non-Christians, and let them interact. I did not need to witness to Jane beyond what she saw in my life. She saw that these friends were fun, caring and interesting people. She wanted to know what made them tick. God used our Thanksgiving Dinner in a way that I would never have imagined.
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