So our plumber had to stop by to fix something in our home the other day. We’ll call him “Oscar”. You’ve got to understand that Oscar is the kind of guy who says what’s on his mind no matter how crudely and bluntly and dogmatically and offensively it may come out.
So I’ll confess that I wanted to usher him in and out as quickly as I could do so, politely. I wasn’t looking for a conversation. Fact is, I was looking to avoid one.
But then as he put his hand on our door to leave, he turned and asked, “So, what kind of church are you a part of?”
Taken aback by the out-of-nowhere question I fumbled for words for a moment or two. But then got a chance to say, “Well, we are a church that loves Jesus because he has loved us and gave his life to pay the penalty for our sin, and then he rose from the dead and is alive today offering his love and forgiveness to all who will sincerely believe—without us having to earn his love or forgiveness! Jesus did it all!”
I then asked him if he thought he was going to heaven. He said “Yes”. I asked him why he thought that. He said, “Because of all the good stuff I do for people.” I said, “I’m afraid that that will not be good enough, Oscar—unless you’re perfect. Are you?” He said, “No”.
I then told him that I know that I am going to heaven—but not because I’m good enough. But because Jesus` is—and he earned it for me. It’s a free gift to all who truly believe!”
He responded: “If that’s true then that’s pretty easy. Forgiveness happens just like that, huh? But what about doing good, and good works.”
I told him that good works follow being forgiven; they don’t earn it. And he listened. In fact, there were 2-3 minute stretches where he said nothing, and only listened (not at all Oscar-like, I assure you!).
Oscar went home with the good news of Jesus finding a place in his thoughts. It’s pretty amazing that God uses little people like me (and you) to reach people like Oscar. But he does. More than cool!
BTW—being ill-prepared to pay for his services, my tip was offensively pathetic. So I texted him to apologize and ask for where I could send something more. He responded with “Not at all. Words of wisdom are worth more.”
Little did he know—but I pray he soon will know—that the “wisdom” he received wasn’t mine. It was the wisdom of God in the cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).
One other thing: Oscar being Oscar, did text one me more comment: “Besides, I can rob you blind the next time!”
Please pray for me that I similarly have patience with people and be ready to share the life-giving Gospel.