"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wake up, O sleeper!

My cell phone began buzzing to wake me up early Saturday morning.  I groggily lifted myself out of bed.  Every Saturday there is an internal battle that rages within me.  My pillow beckons for a few more minutes, but a group of guys is waiting to meet with me at the church.  They are my lifeline for the week—my accountability, encouragement, and spiritual support.  It’s time to get up. 

As I lifted myself out of bed, I heard something brushing up against my apartment door.  “Strange,” I thought.  “I wonder if that has anything to do with the racket I heard in the hall last night?”  After doing everything I need to do to get ready, I headed for the door.  I’m lucky I didn’t trip.  There, curled up on the floor in front of my doorway, was a man passed out, fast asleep.  I paused for a moment, not really knowing what to do.  This is the first time a drunk man has ever slept at my door…I wasn’t sure the proper protocol of response.  I stepped over him, locked my door and left my apartment.  Outside the apartments, one of my friends sat at a bench waiting for me.  “There’s a drunk guy in front of your door.”

“Yeah, I noticed that.” 

I drove to pick up the third member of our party.  This guy has only been a Christian for a short while.  Our group has been reading through the book of James.  He asked me earlier in the week if we could get together sometime and read a chapter together because he was having a tough time understanding what it meant.  When he hopped in my car, and I shared with him my bizarre morning encounter his response was, “you should have invited him to our group—I would have!  I’ve dealt with tons of drunk guys before.”  I responded the way a pastor would be expected to respond.  “That’s a good idea.  I should have done that.”

 That’s when he said, “It’s kinda like what we’ve been reading in James.  Faith without works is dead.   You wanna go back?” He asked.  I really didn’t.  That internal battle began raging once more.  I knew it was the right thing to do.  After heading to the church to grab a doughnut and some juice so we could serve the drunk some breakfast in…bed, we headed back to  my apartment to wake the slumbering man up.

The story would be better if the guy was still there, accepted our invitation and gave his life to Jesus that morning.  Unfortunately, I missed my opportunity.  He was gone.  Though he was gone, the lessons of the morning weren’t.  I learned that a “veteran” of the faith can learn a lot from a baby Christian who is eager to apply God’s word to his life. The drunk guy wasn’t the only one sleeping that morning.  My eyes didn’t see the opportunity God placed right before me.  The guy who didn’t understand James was the one who filtered the situation of the morning through the lens of God’s word, saw an opportunity, and applied it.  If I keep hanging with this guy, this baby Christian will make me into a true Christ follower yet!  God’s word is a message to obey, not just to listen to (James 1:22).  How many opportunities have I missed because I wasn’t ready to live the Gospel I have heard. 

Never again do I want to trip over an opportunity.  God literally placed someone at my doorstep.  Hopefully next time, I’ll be able to share a more exciting conclusion to an opened door.

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