A guy interested in a job with our company returned to the office a few days ago for me to run a pre-employment drug test for him. He knew our protocol: Take off your jacket, empty your pockets. He whipped off his coat and flashed the liner for me to view. He wanted to show off his artwork: what appeared to be a large, black and white nude.
I was caught completely off guard. The image flashed before my eyes, I averted my gaze, and because I was absolutely flat-footed and totally dumb-founded I coughed out a dry, empty laugh.
While he provided a specimen for me, I racked my brain as to what I could say. I value this guy as a person. I'm no better than he. But I've got to say something...
I never did think of anything brilliant to join the broken fragments of my thinking or to help him make sense of the shattered pieces of his life, but I walked out of my office to at least make an attempt. "I'm not used to looking at things like that," I told him. It was lame, but he caught the gist. "Amen. Amen," he said, and he donned his coat and walked out into the gray morning.
Just how to take advantage of Gospel opportunities? It's more complicated than theological discussions in a sterile laboratory setting in which everyone has a prescribed role to play and a well-thought out script to read. Sometimes opportunities are startling. Sometimes they're tied together with complex factors. In this case it was both.
The guy wanted a job and would probably tell me whatever I wanted to hear to make a good impression (hence, "Amen, Amen" to something that he obviously didn't believe). He also was proud of his work and wanted to share it with me. I wanted to receive him, but I also couldn't condone his actions or the broken belief system from which they sprang. I knew a little of this man's hard life and felt for him.
Two things are clear as I look in my rear view mirror: First, I need to be better tuned to the Holy Spirit, more ready at a moment's notice to explain why I have hope; second, the Gospel is God's work. It's His great concern. He uses fumbling instruments for the purpose of getting glory, like a team captain deliberately choosing the worst players to be on his team.
My life--our lives--are like a daily replay of the story of Gideon's 300 men or David facing the giant Goliath or the people of Israel doing what looked like a silly march around the city of Jericho. One thing is certain: if the Kingdom is going to advance, our Captain is going to get all the credit.
I'm not expecting to have all the answers for all the opportunities that I'll face in this coming week. I'm not that wise or discerning or fast-on-my-feet. But I'm confident that my Captain can use my earnest desire to make a play in spite of my weakness--however the next opportunity is dressed.
© March 2017 by Robert G. Robbins