There is nothing extraordinary about eating at a country club buffet, but when I went with my wife, we had an unforgettable experience. We noticed an older man sitting by himself, and asked him if he would like to sit with us. When he joined us, we had a good time talking together. When I told him that I was a pastor, he said, “[I hope] you’re not a Baptist preacher. They say if you drink, smoke, cuss, cut out paper dolls, or dance, you can’t go to Heaven.”
I said, “Well, I don’t do those things, but you can do all those things and go to Heaven.”
“You can, and you’re a Baptist?”
Then I asked him if he knew he was going to Heaven, and he became very quiet. He said, “I’m 90 years old. I go dancing three days a week.”
I didn’t condemn him, but instead I repeated my question, “Wouldn’t you kind of like to know?” He didn’t trust in Christ right then, but he promised he would watch our broadcast and heartily thanked me. When he left, he was like a different person.
Dancing is not something I encourage at my church, but I wasn’t going to make an issue of it as I tried to lead this man to Christ. When we witness, we have to focus on the gospel. Once a person gets saved, then Christ will begin to convict him of sins in his life — that’s not our job. We are not to be the policemen of the world, but we are to be salt and light. This is how we will make the greatest impact for Christ.
Grace concentrates on the person, not on the problem. Are you showing it to others as you share your faith, or are you concentrating on nonessentials? Showing grace could be the one thing that makes or breaks the deal the next time you witness. Try it for yourself and see what happens.
Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder