When I got to Bible class tonight at West Huntsville, there was a man waiting for me there. He’s a rocket scientist in the “words-you-can-hardly-pronounce-on-his-business-card” sense of the term. The man asked if I remembered him. Blankly staring and trying to jog my memory, I had to ask for his name. Jim told me his full name. Still blankly staring and reaching in vain, in my mind, for any faint hint, he mercifully told me that he dated my sister back in high school for two years. He reminded me that he was at our wedding and it started to slowly come back to me. He did date my younger sister. He was in my parents’ home lots of the time during those two years. He was the one who found our car at the hotel after the wedding and stuck Oreo halves all over it. He was sweet, though, and kind, and funny and good. But he was not a member of the Lord’s church. That’s why my sister finally stopped seeing him. I remember how it broke her heart. She just knew that she could teach him. She studied with him. She did love him. But thirty years, a husband and three kids later, she can think of him with sadness,that he never obeyed the Lord, and with gladness, that she found the strength to end the relationship.
This man, now from San Diego, was working on a space travel project in Huntsville. He began to google area churches and ran across the name “Glenn Colley” when he found the “West Huntsville church of Christ at Providence” …. “Surely not,” he thought. But finding the name, “Cindy Colley” on the site, as well, he knew it was us. So there he was. After thirty-plus years he just made a surprise appearance, for a brief moment, once more.
We talked for a few minutes. He reminisced about my hometown, my parents and our high school. He told me that he had always thought a lot of my family.
The interesting thing is that, even now, while telling me how much my family had meant to him, he made it clear that he will forever be a “five point Calvinist,” as he puts it. He smiled as he said it, but still he wanted me to know that he will likely never be a member of the church of Christ.
Strange how chance sometimes brings people like that back into our lives, even momentarily. Reflecting on that moment now, I think I’ll do the “blog brainstorm” and list lessons learned from today’s most bizarre moment:
- You can never be sure you’re finished with any contact you may have had with any living person. (Be sure you always live so that you will never be hesitant or regretful to renew acquaintances. Don’t live so that your memories will be tainted. I know some people who are filled with regret when they run into people they knew “way back when”.)
- Don’t let relationships end without sharing the gospel. (My sister had made it very easy for me to let Jim walk away again without my feeling responsible for his condition outside of Christ. I know her well enough that I am confident he heard the whole counsel of God from her on many occasions. He has heard the gospel multiple times in his life both from her and from the lessons he heard when visiting the services of the church with her, those many years ago.)
- Find out for sure if the person you are dating is tender to the gospel of Christ before you invest emotionally and, surely, long before you make marriage plans.Don’t make the mistake of marrying someone with whom you will never share what is by far the deepest and most important part of a relationship.
- Study Calvinism. (You will be totally amazed at how very many people have adapted some or all of this doctrine as they make life’s important decisions. Memorize the TULIP of Calvinism and learn how to respond to this doctrine that hugely influences our culture.)
- Always get contact information. (I am glad I asked for a business card, even if there are big words on it that I can barely read. Though our time tonight was very limited, I can still send him some materials. I can still invite him to read and comment. Who knows? The seed is the Word of the Lord and that’s pretty potent seed, even though first planted three decades ago.
Speaking of which…how’s your study going? For those of you who are in the “Sanctified” study, be prepared to discuss our “Matthew” questions on May 28th at 7 CST. I’m currently loving the “Sermon on the Mount” (that’s chapters 5-7) so I need to buckle down and be ready!
Then, be sure to join us on June 4th for “Tradition in Worship: Are We Too Bound?–Part 2” We’ll be discussing all the things that were brought up and left unaddressed in our last podcast: “children’s Bible hour”, frequency of contribution, and listening to “Christian bands” among others. As always, I pledge to try and look at these things honestly in light of the scriptures. I do not know all of the answers for sure, so I need your participation and discussion. Stay in the book!