The Shocking Truth

June 28, 2009
by John Stuart

Psalm 10:4 – In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. (NIV)

Years ago, when I was in seminary, I was amongst a group of divinity students who had arranged a meeting with shop stewards from the ship builders in Glasgow. The men we met were rugged and coarse, and had spent all of their lives building the great Cunard liners that once majestically sailed around the world.

We were meeting with them to discuss how the church could effectively minister to the average Scottish working man and his family. We hoped that they could give us an insight into how to make our future ministries more relevant. I was the first to ask a question.

"What does the working man think about the church?" I naively inquired. The answer was blunt and shocking.

"Nothing," one of the shop stewards replied. "We never think about the church." You could have heard a pin drop, and I'm sure that each mouth of us seminarians gaped open in disbelief. He continued, "We work hard, get our pay, spend our money, and provide for our families. We don't have time to think about the church. We don't have a reason to think about the church."

It's a lesson that I've never forgotten. Compared to the rest of the world, we live in our own wee community and contemplate what God wants to do with our lives. For those outside of the church, theological issues and Christian ways are not even on their radar screen. They work hard, get their pay, spend their money, and provide for their families. Whatever comes before or after life is not important. Whatever faith has to do with them isn't an issue. Just as the Psalmist says in today's verse, in all their thoughts there is no room for God.

This is why what we do as Christians, rather than what we say, becomes very important. Faithless people may not understand our words, our culture, or our God, but they will recognize our help, our support, and our care. So today, let's make and take as many opportunities as we can to be loving and compassionate, to be sympathetic and understanding, for by those fruits of our faith, they will come to understand what Christians really are and what Christ is all about.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we like to think that the world revolves around our faith and that our churches make a difference in the community. Sometimes, we delude ourselves into thinking that we are more effective than we actually are. Teach us Your ways of communicating the Gospel, not just by preaching and teaching, but also through healing and helping. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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