Don’t we all love waiting rooms? Yesterday I sat in a grungy, smoke-filled waiting room, surrounded by old editions of Sports Illustrated and National Geographic. Although it was almost 2 Pm, the morning coffee still sat in an almost full carafe, but frankly it did not interest me in the least. Perhaps I am becoming one of those detestable coffee snobs — I digress.
An older man in a Brewers club jacket and Green Bay Packers ball cap entered the room and sat down right across from me. I picked up a conversation with him and moved quickly to spiritual things. It all went something like this:
Do you consider yourself a Christian? I asked.
He replied, Well, after 40 years of Catholic church, I’d sure hope so!
That really is a long time, sir. Let me ask you this — have you ever read the Bible cover to cover?
He answered, young man, I’ve never cracked the cover of that book.
So how do you know that your priest is telling you the truth week in and week out? I countered.
He explained that he had no way of knowing that and truthfully was not all that concerned about it. I challenged him about why he bothered calling himself a Christian if he had no desire to read the Bible.
What would you think of a man who called himself a doctor but had never cracked and Anatomy and Physiology book?
He conceded my point but countered that he talked with God every morning and every night before bed. His logic went something like this:
If the good Lord had something that He wanted me to know that badly, He would tell me in the morning or at night when I pray.
I responded with the old anecdote where the man is drowning, asking God to save him. The Lord sends boats and a helicopter to save him, but the man refuses them, saying that God will help him out of the perilous situation. After finishing the anecdote and seeing the old Wisconsiner chuckle, I asked him:
Sir, is it possible that God’s answer to your morning and evening prayers is the fact that He sent this preacher to this waiting room and at the same time brought you here? And, is it possible that He wants you to take this Bible that I’m about to offer you, and that He wants you to read it?
Astonishingly, he responded:
No. I’m not going to take that Bible. I know that I will never read it.
Sir, when you stand before God one day, He will remind you that He sent a preacher to the tire waiting room for you. You will have no excuse.
He shook my hand, said a brief thanks for caring, and went out to observe the tire work done on his car. I paid for my tire job, left the Bible with the mechanic, who was thrilled to receive it.