I had worked for a denominational publisher for many years. The work was challenging, and the Lord was blessing it.
But in my worst moments, I saw the denomination as a big machine that was more concerned with itself than it was with the massive world outside. And I saw myself as a mechanic that spent my life just servicing the machine, keeping it running. I didn’t feel I was doing all I should do or wanted to do or needed to do in the human world in which I lived.
The more meaningful and satisfying my own relationship with Christ became on a moment-by-moment basis, the more I realized that Christ could bring a perfectly satisfying life to absolutely everyone around me. Age didn’t matter. Intelligence and educational level didn’t matter. Personality didn’t matter. Culture, financial status, none of that mattered. Christ could be personally, completely fulfilling to each and every individual around me.
I would go out in public, to shopping malls, sporting events, and craft shows, and realize that Christ could bring peace and meaning to absolutely everyone there. Yet I had no way to tell them, and I was repeatedly frustrated.
Then one Saturday in February, 1995, my wife, Gloria, and I went shopping on Metcalf, a main thoroughfare in Johnson County, Kansas, one of the wealthier areas in the Kansas City metro. I left her at a home decorating show. It was crammed wall-to-wall, elbow-to-elbow with people shopping for nothing but ways to make their homes more pleasing.
As I drove out, I passed a huge store on the right—nothing but sporting goods; people seeking leisure for the physical body.
On the left was an electronics super-store; nothing but electronic entertainment.
I drove north to a large bookstore, overflowing with people looking for intellectual stimulation.
And the road in-between was crowded with people as well, all looking, all shopping, all willing to spend their living for things to make their lives better. The frustration returned, but on this day, something happened.
I’ve never heard God speak audibly. Usually He speaks to me through impressions on my mind and heart. But on this occasion, as I pulled into a parking lot, it seemed like God was speaking to me in my mind, using these very words: “What could you do if nothing else mattered?”
That question stopped me short. I didn’t know the answer. Still, I felt that because God asked the question, He was getting ready to do something. A seed of anticipation was planted.
More next time.