An old drunk walked into the local restaurant and plopped down at a table near four church ladies. He smelled of cigarettes and had a half-empty bottle of liquor sticking out of the pocket of his tattered coat.
Out of the corners of their eyes, the ladies saw him open a newspaper and begin reading.
After a few minutes, he turned to the ladies and asked, “what causes appendicitis?”
One of the ladies, hoping to teach him a lesson, said: “It’s caused by smoking and drinking and generally living a sinful life.”
“Oh, my goodness,” the old drunk said, returning to his reading.
The lady, feeling a twinge of conscience, then asked him what makes him think he has appendicitis?
“Oh, it’s not me,” he said. “It says in the church section here that your pastor missed services last week because of it.”
It’s dangerous business when people try to use trickery to win people to the Lord. It requires straight talk that’s motivated by genuine concern for the person we’re talking to.
The late, great evangelist D.L. Moody once told about a man who had fallen overboard while at sea. Shipmates were looking for him and trying to rescue him. Inside the ship was a fellow who was suffering terribly from seasickness and couldn’t join the search.
Unable to do anything more, the seasick man held a light up to the porthole, which turned out to be what saved the poor fellow.
“The saved man gave this testimony,” Moody said. “He said he had gone down the second time and was just going down again for the last time, when he put out his hand. Just then, he said, someone held a light at the porthole, and the light fell on his hand. A man caught him by the hand and pulled him into the lifeboat.
“It seemed a small thing to do to hold up the light; yet it saved the man’s life. If you cannot do some great thing you can hold the light for some poor, perishing drunkard, who may be won to Christ and delivered from destruction. Let us take the torch of salvation and go into these dark homes, and hold up Christ to the people as the Savior of the world.”
You know, the church lady could have had a greater impact on the old drunk by simply telling him the truth of Christ, instead of making up a ridiculous story that made him think the pastor was as bad off as he was.
Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.