Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Dear Colleagues,


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You want the honest truth? Basically I am not particularly attracted to many people outside of Christ. Given the choice, I gravitate toward the delectable company of those who share my interest in spiritual matters. People who have been cleaned up by Christ. Perhaps that is shocking to hear, but it is the truth.

Recently my wife and I were camping out and met the couple in the campsite next to ours. For 15 20 minutes we shifted back and forth on our feet as they impressed us with their many accomplishments. When they left (actually, I excused myself), I told Ruth how distasteful that encounter had been. But dear, she said, They are lostLets invite them out for dinner tonight.  We prayed, asking God to love them through us; to focus our attention on them. And so we did.  Through a long dinner, we listened while they continued the one way conversation about themselvesand unpacked before us their broken lives of pain, confusion, and despair. As we parted John said, If you are ever in our area, please stop by.  You know, I cant help but wonder the last time they had been taken seriously and given love and respect. St. Paul stated that he was under obligation both to the Greeks a highly advanced and sophisticated society – and to the non-Greeks. Literally, the barbarians. (Rom. 1:14) If I selfishly cater to my desire to surround myself only with the attractive, non – barbarians types, I am failing my God-given obligation to reach out to the lost with the Gospel.

As I look around my neighborhood, the folks without Christ seem to have three things in common:  (1) They are self-absorbed. (2) Their lives appear to be in a perpetual state of crisis, and (3) They have no idea how to get out of the muck, let alone the fact that it is even possible.

So, what am I to do about these lost people?

  • I need to ask God to give me His love for them.  A little over a year ago we moved into a one street neighborhood of 14 homes. We asked God to give us a special love for each person. And he has! I know myself well enough to know that in the natural that just would not happen. I am talking about the kind of love described in Psalm 126:5, 6:  Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. 
  • I need to engage with them. Four weeks ago, we asked our next door neighbors over for desert.  Again, that night the conversation was all about them.  When they left, Ruth and I looked at each other in amazement.  Never had we met two more desolate, vacant, and unhappy people.  Unattractive? Yes.  Self-centered? Yes.  Lost people in desperate need of the Savior.  Well, two weeks ago Ethel, the wife, died!  One half hour after her demise, her husband Rod learned that he has lung cancer. Since Ethels death, weve had Rod over for dinner, stopped by to see how he is doing, taken in food, etc. In fact, we are taking him out to dinner tonight.  One of these days if he is in fact terminal I will be at his hospital bedside, and by Gods grace, I will talk to him about his eternal destiny. Hopefully, through our loving care, Ruth and I will have won a responsive ear for such a hearing.

QUESTION: Do you possess a heart that chooses to love the unlovely, irrespective of the cost?  A heart that chooses to love the self-absorbed barbarians among you, for his glory and for their salvation? 

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace with God and bring glad tidings of good things. In other words, how welcome are those who come preaching God’s Good News! (Rom. 10:13 Living)

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