I met this guy (we'll call him Joshua) on the street in a popular downtown area one night while he was waiting for a taxi. The first question that I asked him was, "How many brand names of beers can you name?" First there were the easy ones... Budweiser, Miller, Coors, Heineken. Then it got a little tougher, but he was able to pull out some names of a few others... Red Stripe, Samuel Adams, Rolling Rock. In the end, he was able to rattle off about 16 brand names before he decided to stop. He had a great sense of pride after being able to pull off such an impressive list.
Then he was ready for my second question.
My heart started racing, because somehow I knew that this question was going to make him think in a way that I wasn't sure that he was expecting. In fact I almost didn't want to ask it, but I mustered up the strength to force the words out of my mouth.
"Okay," I told him, "Now, how many of the Ten Commandments can you name?"
And there it was... I'll never forget the look on his face. It was that sort of deer-in-the-headlights look. If I could read his mind, I'm sure that he was thinking something like, "oh (dang), I'm busted!"
I almost immediately felt bad for they guy. I knew for sure that he wasn't going to be nearly as proud or confident about this answer as he was the last one. But he started to squeak out a couple of the obvious ones... "don't kill people... don't lie... umm... don't steal things..."
After racking his brain, and even making up a few of his own, four of the ten is all that he could manage. I handed him the checklist with all ten of the Commandments with the ones that he got right checked off. I didn't really know what to say to him at this point because he seemed to be in a bit of shock regarding his lack of ability to respond correctly.
Or maybe it was shame.
Not knowing what to really say to him at this point, I simply asked, "What are you thinking right now?"
He stood there staring at the list, and pointing at one of the items he said, "This one, right here. I need to do that one. I just need to do it. This one..." After asking him which one he was referring to, he responded, "This one. Remember the Sabbath. I need to get back into church. That's the one. I really need to get back into church."
Then I knew that I didn't have to say much to him, because the Holy Spirit was saying much more to him than I could ever say. Joshua's taxi arrived shortly after that, and I was able to offer some brief encouragement before we parted ways. I believe that as he walked away something had changed inside of him. Something real. Something awesome. Something eternal.
Photo by mindwhisperings, via High Calling Blogs on Flickr. Post by Dan King of BibleDude.net.
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