Dear Jesus: Thanks but no thanks

Posted on July 12, 2013 · Posted in Gospel, Worldview

A patient wakes up from surgery and hears the biopsy is normal. A parent with a car full of children narrowly avoids an accident. A football player learns that his injured knee is only a mild sprain instead of a devastating ligament tear. A college student unexpectedly does well on an exam. A family realizes the tornado has not damaged their home. The promotion at work finally happened.

All of these events often have one thing in common. Many, if not all, of the people involved will utter some form of gratitude to God for their survival or good fortune.

These moments provide an opportunity to speak of Christ. Careful, concerned questions may be asked that can lead to the gospel. For example, when someone says, “thank the good Lord, that was close!” Look for an opportunity to talk about what was said. Perhaps something like this:

“Hey Joe, that really was a close call.”

“Yep, the man upstairs was looking after me.”

“Well, no doubt about that. Joe, we are friends, right? Well, as your friend let me ask you a question. You are happy to acknowledge that God just saved your life. Why wouldn’t you want him to tell you how to live your life?”

“Excuse me?”

“Remember, I am your friend. We both know that your personal life is not exactly where it should be. I am just saying maybe you should consider that while you are glad for God’s protection, you don’t have much interest in living the way he tells you to. Maybe God has something for you to think about with this close call.”

“Getting a little judgmental there, aren’t you?”

“No, just trying to be a good friend and tell you something I realized, by God’s grace. If God is the one who keeps me alive, maybe I should understand that it is ungrateful of me to ignore the way he commands me to live. Just a thought from a friend.”

“Uh, never thought about it that way. Maybe I will think about what you said. Just don’t get all judgmental on me.”

“No problem. Just remember, I am not the one who saved your life. Talk to you later.”

This is an example of making the most of an opportunity to bring the gospel to others. The point here is just to get a conversation started. Initially, you don’t need to cover all of the theological bases. You just want to get things started and trust God for the rest. You can make application of passages like Acts 17:24-28 as time goes on.

Everyday you have close calls as a family. Use these times to make practical application of the gospel to your children.  This practice will provide you with great experience to spread the gospel to others that God has placed in your life.

Something to think about!

Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.