Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Laboring for Christ

It has been a fun couple of weeks in the state of Wisconsin. It's been very, very humid but it is also very, very beautiful here. Tuesdays are our program days here in the Dells and we were given the chance to explore more of this marvelous state by taking a day trip down to Madison. For any of you who have never been to the capital of Wisconsin, well...let me tell you, its a very interesting city. It's been said that the state of Wisconsin at one point was picked up and shaken around until all the crazies of the state fell to the bottom. And that, is exactly what we seemed to discover as we walked the streets of Madison.

Our goal was not just site seeing and people watching, (which is always fun and interesting) but it was something bigger, better and more intimidating than that. It was to proclaim to the city of Madison what Jesus Christ has done for the world, and how He has impacted each one of our lives personally. We split up into twos and set out across the college campus of UW-Mad with 40,000+ students, capital hill with its protesters against Scott Fitzgerald and his budget cuts, and state street with businessmen and homeless a like. The perfect atmosphere to test our faith for sure.

My team was assigned to the memorial union which was holding a research convention at the time and was where all the students were cramming for their summer finals. This made it a little difficult to strike up conversations with people but we got lucky when we started asking some if they would kindly help us out by answering a couple questions from a spiritual interest survey we were conducting. I will spare you from all the details from every conversations we had in those two short hours but some of the questions and answers went a little like this...

Q: Do you have any spiritual views or beliefs?
A: "Yes, Christian, Quaker, Not Church, No clue..."

Q: To YOU, who is Jesus?
A: "A prophet, just a man, my Savior, a deceptive concept."

Q: Are you satisfied with your meaning of life?
A: "Yes, I don't know, No"

Q: What do you believe happens after death?
A: "Nothing, heaven or hell, reincarnation, there is no death, a transition time"

Q: If what you believed was not the truth, would you want to know?
A: "Yes, YES!, Yes... that is why I am going back to school"

Q: Would you mind if we shared with you a verse (Romans 6:23) that sums up the bible in 5 minutes?

Now this is where it started to get interesting....

Those who had said they were Christians surprisingly still did not grasp the full understanding of the gospel and how as sinners we earn, or are wages of sin is death! And that God sent us a FREE gift through Jesus Christ that we may spend eternity with Him in heaven if only we believe and receive that He is the only way.

Those who were obviously desperately seeking after truth were "too busy" to hear the five minute message of the "good news". One lady in particular really stood out to me. It was obvious as we went through the survey that she was a very sad and an empty woman, seeking to find the truth by going back to school to get her masters in sociology. She had said if there was truth she would like to know it, and when we asked if we could share briefly with her the joy that we had discovered, she firmly turned us down. As I walked away, I looked her in the eyes and said to her that I really hope she finds what she is looking for, and I will never forget the empty look in her eyes as she replied, "I really hope so too".

As we regrouped with the rest of the Navigator students and we went around the room sharing our stories, some where so mind blowingly awesome at how obvious and clear God had been working in their lives and how He used our courage to go out and speak His name for His glory. Other stories were not so encouraging as people's responses clearly showed that they were hard to the gospel due to so called "Christians" living out hypocritical lives in front of them. But by the end of the day, I realized that there are so many people we pass by daily that are hurting and searching for the truth, that are open and wanting to talk if we would just take the time and not be afraid to share our source of joy and life with them!

I continually am reminded of the passage in Romans 1 where Paul says that he is a debtor to both the Jews and the Greeks and reminds us it is our responsibility and honor as redeemed people to share our redemption with those who are still lost. I am blown away by the fact that God has chosen us unworthy yet redeemed people to be His ambassadors to share with the world what He has done for us when He could have chosen to use angels instead! I am also reminded that God's word does not return void and we are called to be laborers for Christ, to plant the seed and do the watering, but it is God who gives the growth. We are not alone.

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