Today was the first day of 1-a-days. Today, the short walk to UL seemed longer than ever. The excuses came at me like bullets in a battlefield, and for I've never felt less at home on the UL campus than during that walk.
I prayed, and reminded myself that Jesus promised He'd always be with me. I quoted bible verses to redirect my attention from the fear. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. The righteous are as bold as lions. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. I have every spiritual blessing in Christ and everything I need. I will never leave you or forsake you.
Still, it felt strange. The university where I spent many hours of my lifeseemed like a foreign land today. It was like an away game with the whole season on the line, a hostile crowd, and yet I was on my home turf. Strange.
I went to the ATM on campus and got $20. I found a gentleman sitting alone, reading. He was friendly. I asked him if he could talk with me for a couple minutes for a project I was working on. He politely told me he was studying for a test, so I politely told him I'd try to catch him another time.
I headed toward the quad. Since class was going on, there were only a few folks sitting on benches. The excuses flooded, and I decided to head toward the student union. I saw someone walking by herself. I walked alongside her and said, "Hey, you walking to class?"
"No," she said politely.
"Where you headed?"
"Mind if I walk with you and talk to you a couple minutes for a project I'm working on?"
She stopped, smiled and was eager to help me with my project. I invited her to keep walking, so we kept walking toward her bus.
I told her, "I've got $20.00. I'll give it to you if you can answer one question correctly. Sound easy enough? She laughed and agreed.
I told her, "I'll give you 30 seconds to name as many of the ten commandments as you can. Name them all, and I'll give you 20 bucks. Ready, go!"
She quickly sprung into action: "You shall not commit adultery. You shall not have any other gods. Um, um, I know them, but when you put me on the spot..." She nervously laughed.
"You're doing great! 10 seconds left."
She thre in the towel.
"OK, tell you what. I'll give you another chance to win the money, ok? I'll ask you something else." She agreed. It was a very pleasant conversation so far.
"Would you consider yourself to be a good person?" "Yes."
"Okay. I'll ask you a 3 question test. If you prove to be a good person, I'll give you the 20 bucks. Deal?" She was excited. Surely she was going to get her 20 bucks.
"How many lies have you told in your life?" "Lots!"
"So what does that make you?" "A bad person...?"
"Well, sort of, but more specifically...a 4 letter word, rhymes with pants on fire?" Silence, with a nervous smile.
"What would you call me if I told lies?" "A liar." "Yep, that's right. We're not doing good so far!" I joked, and she laughed.
"OK. 2nd question. Ever stolen something." "Yes." "What does that make you...a thief, right?" "Yes." "Me too," I told her.
"This is the one that got me. Jesus said that if you look with lust, you commit adultery in your heart. Ever looked with lust?" "Yes," she said, getting more and more nervous.
"So, I'm not judging you, but by your own admission, you're a liar, a theif, and an adulterer at heart. Me too. And you have to face God on judgment day. You're in big trouble aren't you?" "Yes."
Would you be innocent or guilty if God judges you by that standard we just went over? "Guilty."
Would you go to Heaven or Hell? "I hope Heaven..."
But you've broken all his laws, and you're guilty, so God should send you to..."Hell."
"That's not good news, is it?" I asked. She was visibly concerned.
Do you know what God did so that you wouldn't have to go to Hell? "Sent his son to save us?"
"Yes, He died on the cross so that you can be forgiven." Getting closer to the bus stop, my time was ticking quickly toward its end. "Do you know how to get that forgiveness before God" "repent?"
"That's part of it. "Repent, and trust in Jesus. Have you ever done that?" "I'm working toward it."
"This is so important for you to understand. If you continue trying to work toward your forgiveness, you'll never make it. It's like this. You're standing in front of a judge on earth, guilty of multiple crimes. You say, 'But judge: I helped an old lady across the street yesterday. i helped at a soup kitchen. I gave money to the poor. And, on the way into the courtroom, I washed your car! And I noticed one of your tires was low, so I put air in it for you. I'm rally sorry, and I'll never do it again.' If he's a good judge, what's he going to say to you?
"You're going to jail." That's right.
"But all of a sudden, someone you don't know steps into your courtroom and pays your fine so that you can go free. Now what do you have to do about the fine to pay for your crimes?"
"Work hard to pay for it?"
"But this man you don't know has paid the fine, hasn't he? You don't owe any more, do you?"
Her face changed from concern to excitement. I bet she's never seen what Jesus did for her presented so clearly before.
"You don't have to pay for your crimes, because he paid for it. Right?"
"Right," she said with excitement.
"So what's your attitude toward the man that paid your fine?" Gratitude.
"Bingo. Jesus stepped into your courtroom and paid your fine. You can't work enough to erase your crimes against God, but Jesus paid the penalty for you. When you repent and truly trust in Jesus, you want to do good things - not to be right with God but because of gratitude for what He did for you."
I thanked her and gave her an "Are you good enough?" tract. I told her it explains the things we've been talking about, and asked her to think seriously about it, because there was nothing more important than where she will spend eternity. She thanked me for talking with her. It was a very pleasant interaction.
Don't let the devil tell you nobody wants to hear what you have to say. If you truly show you care and explain the gospel clearly, some will still scoff. But others will seriously consider what you've said. Perhaps today is her spiritual birthday. Please pray for her.
So I've still got my $20.00. We'll see if someone can win the money again tomorrow.