A Christian’s witness should be with actions, not only with words

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The sun was just coming up over the mountains as a steady stream of droopy-eyed customers repeatedly opened the swinging door into the coffee shop. Outside, tables were being filled with various groups who were busy discussing their kid’s soccer games, what they watched on TV last night or the latest gossip circulating around town.

Off to one side, the Ridge Lake Christian men’s group was meeting for early morning prayers and devotions. Hot coffee and cranberry scones were being devoured as fast as the waitress could haul them out.

The sun was just coming up over the mountains as a steady stream of droopy-eyed customers repeatedly opened the swinging door into the coffee shop. Outside, tables were being filled with various groups who were busy discussing their kid’s soccer games, what they watched on TV last night or the latest gossip circulating around town.

Off to one side, the Ridge Lake Christian men’s group was meeting for early morning prayers and devotions. Hot coffee and cranberry scones were being devoured as fast as the waitress could haul them out.

“You know,” paused one of the men from the Ridge Lake Christian men’s group, as he turned to talk to a woman sitting just behind him. “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!”

“Yes, I’m sure your right,” smiled the woman who was minding her own business, not desiring to engage the man.

“But don’t you go to that other church across the street? I’m not sure you know the same Jesus,” continued the man with his line of questioning and who seemed to recognize the woman as belonging to a different spiritual fellowship.

“Oh, well, I wasn’t aware there was more than one Jesus?” snapped the woman with a smidgen of annoyance at the man’s persistent inquisition.

Soon, pleasant conversation came to a halt, Bibles closed and all eyes became focused on the woman with spot-on, pin-point accuracy. Their glare was so intense, like red lasers in a laboratory experiment, that you could almost feel the heat and see a wisp of smoke rising from their target. The group of penitent older men had quickly dissolved into a vicious pack of young, hungry wolves and as the sun was rising they began to slowly circle their prey. All the men joined in the feeding frenzy that eventually escalated into a shouting match across tables. Verses were now being hurled from memory, out of context, demanding that their own particular knowledge, theology and dogma were the right way to reach God.

As providence would have it a young Jewish rabbi, sitting nearby, closed his copy of the Torah and began blocking the men’s rhetoric like a giant shield held high above one’s head during a bright storm of flying night arrows.

“We Jews would have to disagree with you” said the rabbi adjusting his round, spectacles up towards the bridge of his nose. “And I believe the fact that you are arguing with one another is proof that you don’t really know what real love is. None of you know the first thing about God and the great love that He has for His creation. You see men, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

There was something about the bluntness of his statement, the sincerity of his love pouring from his heart and the kindness that filled his eyes, like tears from a grieving soul, which made everyone breathe deeply sit down and re-think what had just transpired.

One by one the men from the Bible study group left their table and headed for their cars. They left, each one contrite in spirit, from oldest to youngest like puppy dogs with their tails between their legs. The rabbi’s warm smile had already captured the woman’s heart as she listened intently as he began to speak “May I get something to replace your drink and possibly something more for you to eat?”

Before the woman could answer, she inadvertently knocked what was left of her cup of coffee off the table and was in the process of bending down to sop up the mess before it became larger. Her coffee had split over her new wool shawl and was now spreading out under the table creating quite a mess.

After a short time, the woman returned to an upright position and looked around for her rescuer. He was nowhere in sight and there was no place he could walked to in such a short time. As her eyes returned to the table she noticed another large cup of coffee filled to overflowing and a bowl filled with assorted pastries had been placed near the cup.

The questions we must all ask ourselves are: Have we really been born again? Are we truly transformed? Do we really love people?

We should all be like the young rabbi who appeared at the coffee shop. Let us shine God’s love around by sharing the Gospel and, if absolutely necessary, use words.