I went to Dunkin' Donuts today to read my Bible without interruption. I bought a latte and snagged a table. As an afterthought (and in contradiction to my original purpose) I asked the Lord for a divine appointment. Soon a man walked in and set his gloves on the table near me. I happened to look up at him, and caught his eye for just a split second too long. Then, delivering what must have sounded for all the world like a pick-up line, I said, "Isn't your name Terry?" (Because he looked a lot like a former church member by that name.)
That was the end of my getaway. "Paul" asked me what I was reading, and I told him it was the Bible. He looked at his table and said it was too high, so I offered the empty chair at my lower one. Then began an exchange reminiscent of the Mad Hatter's birthday party, with rapid-fire references to Edgar Cayce and Stephen Hawking and Nostradamus, and napkin drawings of the famous bumper-sticker fish-with feet. I couldn't get a word in, so I gave up and just listened.
After some time my daughter phoned with a need, so I had to draw the conversation to a close and told Paul that I believed in Jesus Christ as my Savior. At that point he said he did, too, though I have to say that Jesus was about the only name he hadn't hurled at me.
I did get my Bible time an hour later at home, and happened to read the following:
"Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:10-11).
My coffee companion had finally gotten around to mentioning Jesus. But, boy, what a lot of names to sift through before we got there. True spiritual life starts simple-and should continue simple. We must not move from, or "graduate" from, the simplicity of Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:3). We must be careful how we build on the foundation: Jesus is the foundation and the first floor, and the second story and the attic.
I don't know where this Terry look-alike was really coming from-or leading to-but I think the gospel is supposed to be sharp and clear. After all, you may only get five minutes with your next appointment at Dunkin' Donuts.