The following is "one of those stories that if not true should be." Maybe it is. I sort of hope it is.
My brother Tim (who posts here every now and again), is a very devout "Bible Believing" Independent minister (read Baptist hehe) who, in my opinion, has come to understand what being a Christian really means.
First a memory... Back in the 70's, not sure what year this was, I was a street minister on the streets of Atlanta (working with as an evangelist with a group called the Fisher's of Men and a suburban main-line Church of God in Marietta). One night my older brother Tim asked to join me and something truly wonderful happened. We had paused in the small "central park" downtown to rest our legs when I struck up a conversation with an African American "woman of the streets" as they say. As we talked, she began to weep and poured out her heart to us about her troubles. She ended by telling us that, "Obviously God can't love me so I don't know what to do," As we ministered to her about God's love my brother was hooked! Now he serves at an area church and weekly volunteers at a downtown rescue mission.
He just sent this story to me and I'd like to share it as food for thought with you. What would you have done in this situation?
A Living "Bible"
His name is Tom. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, Jeans and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college.
He is brilliant. Kind of profound and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college.
Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students but are not sure how to go about it.
One day Tom decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Tom starts down the aisle looking for a seat.
The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now, people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything.
Tom gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit, and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet.
By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.
About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Tom .
Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly.
He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do.
How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor? It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy.
The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The minister can't even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do.
And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and sits down next to Tom and worships with him so he won't be alone.
Everyone chokes up with emotion.
When the minister regains control, he says, 'What I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget.'
'Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read!'
So... What does it mean to be a Believer?
Is Christianity properly manifested in hateful words of condemnation?
Will such accusations and allegations draw people to God?
Is it not better, and more effective, to love people?
And to assure them that God loves them?
Too many Believers (of whatever religion) have lost sight of this.