A Caffeinated Mission Field – Part III

I haven’t been going to James Coffee Co. much these days. My sister has moved into my apartment with me and has the ability now to work from home, which is awesome! For a while we were both posted up in James Coffee Co. nearly every day but we decided that was getting old – and expensive. Now, on the days that I do visit this place, it seems much more obvious how fast things change there. I recently had winter break and left town for nearly a month as well. A lot of baristas are moving and finding jobs elsewhere, the ambience is changing, their processes are being altered, among many other things. One of the bigger changes involved a promotion.

One particular barista (we’ll call him Steve) got hired in a much cooler position at a coffee shop based in LA. I was sitting against a wall on their iconic metal tables, working on some assignments. Just then, Steve was on his way out but caught a last minute glimpse of me and detoured on over to my table. He sat down without waiting for an invitation to be extended and I could tell instantly that something was up.

“I have some big news…” he began.

“Your pregnant.” That was always my go to joke.

He proceeded to tell me about the new job opportunity and told me that he would be leaving very soon. Now, I have no recollection whatsoever how we went from Point A to Point B, but friends, I’m absolutely stoked that we did. In some magical (I mean Divine) way, Steve happened to ask me what the difference between Catholicism and Christianity was. What!? It turns out that Steve grew up going to a Catholic church but eventually called it quits. I immediately seized the opportunity to give Steve the gospel, and I was not going to waste this opportunity. He had sat down to tell me some quick news and didn’t leave till nearly three hours later!

I explained to him how Catholicism, like virtually all other religions, was about people at a base of a mountain, trying to climb up to God through various ways – for Catholics, works. I told him that Christianity is THEE only faith where we acknowledge our complete inability to climb to the top of the mountain where God is. If the just punishment for failing to reach the top (ultimate goodness and favor and righteousness) is death, then we are utterly hopeless. BUT, God is in grace and mercy, sent His Son as a human being to the base of the mountain. That He climbed to the very top and earned God’s favor then looked down and asked what we had earned… death, then offered to trade. This is why Christ died. But God glorified Him back to the top of that mountain where He is seated today.

He was very attentive and seemed to follow it all. He asked a billion other questions and we discussed the afterlife a bit. It seemed to him that living it up on Earth would be greater than living what he thought might be a boring and sheltered life in order to secure eternity in heaven. I explained that being made into a New Creature means that what “living it up” on earth is, no longer seems like “living it up.” That suddenly, our desires change and that if I died, was wrong, and could somehow reflect on my life, I would have lost nothing.

I explained that people of the world fill the gaping void with things that bring temporary happiness but not lasting joy. I told him that even when circumstance suck, Christians have a joy that lives on in the eternal realm and not on this earth.

We walked through even physical, practical evidences of God’s existence. He demands clear evidence. “Have you walked outside? Have you been on a hike? Do you know how babies are made!?” I asked him all these questions and others like these. How can you see these beautiful sunsets, trees, the uniqueness of everyone’s personalities and their ability to reason and feel emotions, the miracle of birth, and still think there isn’t evidence?

The conversation was so rich and wonderful. He wondered if I felt concerned for his soul. I told him that it is the Spirit of God that saves, not me. That if I see someone on train tracks, of course I will try to push them off and beg them to move, but I can’t ultimately make that choice for them. I told him that I have come to know the greatest joy and greatest truth and couldn’t help but wish that for everyone.

He didn’t surrender his life to Christ, repent, and believe. But how can I not be ecstatic about that conversation? I want him to know he is loved by God, by me, by God through me. Before he moved, my sister and I took him on a “date.” We took him out to dinner and then to the movies. He is now living in LA and only a few days ago my sister returned from paying him a visit. I hope to maintain that friendship and continue to pray for his soul – please join me in that prayer!

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