I have a friend who is a very strong Christian. Her husband, who does not have a personal relationship with Christ, has just in the past few years started attending church. They attend a fairly large church, where it is almost impossible to get to know everyone.
My friend came to me one day and told me a story that broke my heart. And all I can think about is how I wonder if the man in the story knew, would it matter to him? Would he change his ways?
I know that one day it WILL matter. One day when he stands before the Lord he claims to serve, it WILL matter MUCH, MUCH more than what he THINKS matters now.
It will matter MUCH more than that little league win or loss.
It will matter MUCH more than a little title that someone else will win the next year, and someone else will win the year after that, and soon, no one will ever remember that his team won it once.
It will matter MUCH more than a trophy made of wood and plastic, that is probably already boxed up and stored away.
It will matter so much, because it had the potential to alter a man's ETERNITY.
Now, back to my friend and her story...my friend, and her husband who we have been praying for.
My friend, whose husband has just started, in the last couple of years, attending church with her.
My friend, whose husband's eternity hangs in the balance.
She came to me and explained that a man who was a member of her large church, was also the coach of one of her family member's little league team. Did you catch the LITTLE part? We are talking about kids under third grade here. Not that it would change things even if we were talking about Major League ball. Because on the other side of the balance is a man's eternity.
Anyway, this coach has a reputation for being very passionate about ball, and not in a good way. So, as they would go to the games, and watch this coach act like a fool about things that do. not. even. BEGIN. to matter in eternity, my friend opted NOT to tell her husband that the coach was a member of her church. Because she knew in her heart that it would damage the cause of Christ, and Christianity, in her husband's eyes. Did you hear that? She knew this man's reputation would hurt the cause of Christ in her husband's eyes. That saddens me, as well as convicts me to the core. I want to live my life in such a way that no one can ever say that about me. How about you? Does it matter to you? Does it matter enough for you to be careful to keep your testimony at all times, no matter where you are or what you are doing? Because believe me, people are watching you, everywhere, and how you act could very well affect where they spend eternity.
Fast forward through a few ballgames of watching this man, and a few Sunday mornings later...My friend and her husband are walking out of church, and guess who happens to be walking out in front of them. Yep, THE coach. The coach who in an hour and a half on Friday night or Saturday morning does more for Satan's cause than he has probably ever done in his LIFETIME for the cause of Christ.
Because LIVING Christianity is SO MUCH more important than preaching it or teaching it. You can preach it, or teach it EVERY Sunday morning/Sunday night/Wednesday night of your life, but if you don't live it at home, at work, at the ball field, in the grocery store, in the hospital, in happy times, in sad times, in peaceful times, in stressed out times...you are doing MORE TO HARM Christianity, than any good you could ever do to help Christianity.
Of course, my friend's husband commented in disbelief, "HE goes to THIS church?" My friend wanted to know what she could say. What could she say to repair the damage done?
I told her she needs to explain to her husband that being Christian, does not mean being perfect. And that all Christians do make mistakes, and act in ways that we should not. And that her husband doesn't need to be looking at others, but at Christ as his example. I told her to point out that Christians, just like others can sometimes get their priorities all out of order. I told her to explain to her husband that unfortunately just because the man attends church there, it does not necessarily mean that he has a true relationship with God. The Bible does say that we can be judged by our fruit. And from all accounts, this man's fruit appears to be rotten. I'm not saying that this particular man is or is not a Christian, because that is between he and God. But I do wonder…if he read this, and he knew that his actions were helping Satan give a man an excuse to not become a Christian and possibly spend eternity in hell…would it matter to him? Would he change his actions on the little league ball field? Would one man's soul matter more than that next win? Would it matter if he knew?