Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Sunday, March 06, 2016

DJD306 - Stepping Stones

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Scripture: 

James 4:14

Starting Question:

Who is the person who helped you see Jesus the way you do today?

Stepping Stones

My cabin mate on a boat trip to Tasmania, John, invited me to breakfast—a conversation that stretched for nearly four hours! We talked of his life as an antique dealer and mine as a church pastor. We were both sincerely interested in the other's life story and asked many questions.

He told of some antique finds. Once, he bought a dusty vase in a disused pub for two dollars. He cleaned, polished and then sold it for $9500 a week later! While that was his “highest percentage” success, he said his most profitable was an accident. A church had closed and was to be auctioned. He wanted them to get a good price, so he attended and took the first bid to get the auction rolling. To his dismay, no-one else bid. He had accidentally purchased a church for $35,000.

He used the church to store antiques he couldn't fit in his shop. When he decided to move to Tasmania, his adult children demanded he clean the valuable loot out of the church and sell the building. They were concerned that someone would break in and steal the collectibles. Out of respect for his kids, he sold the contents and put the church up for auction—10 years after he had purchased it—and sold it for $345,000! 

After we'd talked for awhile, John carefully worded a question, “Dave, can I ask you a question? You don't have to answer, if it offends you. OK?” I agreed. He then asked, “Does it make you mad that I am not a Christian? I mean, it's your job to make me into one. And I'm not going to become one. So, does that anger you?” 

I was stunned. Was this what people outside of Christianity thought of Christians? Were we seen as so single minded that our only reason for being friendly was to make others be like us? 

Humbled, I responded, “Not at all, John. Life is a journey. We meet people, have experiences, make decisions and live as best we can. Yes, I would love for you to know Jesus. But, I think it highly arrogant to expect that I would be the one person to turn you into a Christian! Each person we meet in life is a stepping stone in our path. I only hope that our time together has taken you one step closer to Jesus.” 

He liked that answer. “So, you aren't expecting me to say, ‘Aha! Now I get it. I want to be a Christian too,' and go to church with you next week?” 

“No!” I laughed. “But, I must tell you something. I believe in God. I believe He answers prayer. And now I know your name, I'll be praying for you!” 

He surprised me by saying, “Thanks, Dave. That really means a lot. I will be thinking about this conversation for a long time.” 

As have I, John. Thanks for being a stepping stone in my journey. I pray I was one in yours and not a stumbling block.

Reflection Question:
What is the difference between being a stumbling block and stepping stone for people's faith in Jesus?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
To Be Like Jesus, Page 74