First, this is what I do with people without ear buds. So two days ago I’m talking to a an old white guy of 79 who would have been wearing ear buds like everyone else at the YMCA but instead had double hearing aids. All I got to say was, Look to Christ. Immediately he corrected me and said he was a Buddhist but felt no urge to tell anybody. I agreed and said I had Jesus and felt urged tell everybody. And we understood each other and he felt he could trust me to take him on and defeat me in waffle ball.
Then again, today I’m talking to another old guy, who is black, has a lot of class and sass, and is a greeter at The Home Depot. Now, I can say in my defense, he started it so I just jumped in. I said, Bro, this is what I’ve been learning: the Cross of Jesus means the value God put on your soul. The worth of your soul to God is the Cross. For it is written, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 – he was quoting it with me. At this point my arms are stretched out and I pound my chest with closed and squinting eyes). He’s really listening now. I went on to say, Furthermore, Jesus took the dreadful curse that was on your soul and rolled the whole damn thing onto his own shoulders and made it his own. For it is written, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13 but I didn’t say this part). I stopped talking and he said, You’re a pastor, right? No, just a retired auto mechanic. He said, Well brother, you missed your calling. I said, I know. It sucks. But now I just preach outdoors or wherever I am. He said, That’s where it counts. I said, Great talking with you.
Is Jesus really this good? Better. I can’t explain how effortlessly these conversations just seem to happen. My preparation each morning is pretty much like this: I take a walk as soon as I can after hauling it out while it’s still dark, take a good long draught of water, get the temp, hook up my dog, and get outdoors. I give thanks to God. I ask him if I could see Jesus in the mountain of the Lord (Genesis 22:14). Also, I need to see him high and lifted up (Isaiah 6:1), and at my right hand (Acts 2:25). I ask if I could feel his heart (Hebrews 2:17). I ask if he’d make me un-offendable, and that I’d be tolerable to be around. Then I say I need him to set my schedule and make me ready and bold. Then I plead with Jesus that I could be his mouth today, and that I can’t do this without him. Certainly there are other things I always pray about. I hope I don’t sound like a scratched record repeating itself over and over in heaven. (Speaking of that, I am an official native of heaven now, because I was born there – see John 3:3).
Next, I shut up and listen. And I keep walking and listening until the Lord fades in and I’m aware of his communion with me, or not, and then I get home and greet anyone whose up, and formally commence making and devouring a big breakfast, oatmeal or three eggs slightly jellied on top and toast.
Oh, I should add, if the person I want to speak with has ear spuds on, here’s what – I get in front of them, wave my hand, and start talking. They seem to think I’m some insane person for a moment, but because most people are rather decent, they take out one bud. I say, Morning. Hey, it’s on my heart to tell you that the Cross of Jesus means the value God put on your soul, etc. . . . Now that’s a nice day!