Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Post Office, Patience, and The Gospel: Journal 2/10/07

It seems like a unlikely combination...I know. But that is my story today.

I had to mail some books back for the classes I didn't end up taking. Also, I had to mail in some rebates for our cell phones [among a few other things].

The Post Office on a Saturday
It's ludacris to go to the post office on Saturday morning from 11:30 to noon. Guess, what time I pulled up...11:45am. I knew I was going to have to be patient. So, I walked in.

I stood in line for about five minutes and then realized I wanted to send the rebates certified mail with a slip to be mailed back to me upon receipt at the destination. So I walk out of line to get the slips and I fill them out. I turned around and about five people arrived and jumped in line.

After waiting in line for about twenty minutes I got to the counter. The man behind the counter was a really nice Chinese guy named Tom. Anyhow, he rung up a bunch of stuff I was mailing...and then he pointed out that I had not boxed the boxes up correctly. I asked him what I needed to do and he told me.

I asked for help because I don't ship stuff very often and he abruptly said, "Sir, we are really busy, and we don't have time to offer these kinds of services." I turned around and sure enough there was a line behind me about as long as it was when I arrived. I thought, "Oh great, another 20 minute wait." I apologized and said to go ahead and ring everyone else up. He snapped at me and said, "I've already started to ring up your stuff." I tried to patiently say, "Well, let's ring up this stuff...then I'll go package this stuff appropriately...and you can ring everyone else up...and then we can take care of my boxes." Thus, I proceeded.

I went over to the area where they sell stamps and stuff, and started to put labels, and rebox items. He helped everyone else and then started to close everything up. Then I went back over and we started to take care of business again.

The Gospel
He asked what was in the boxes and I said, "Books, and shirts." Then I said the books were for a class I couldn't take. He asked what my major was. I responded, "Biblical and Theological Studies." He asked what classes I'm taking right now, and I said, "Hebrew and some others."

Then he asked me if I was a Jew. I said no. He was puzzled and asked why I'm taking a Christian wouldn't I be taking Latin? I chuckled a little and asked him if he's ever read the Bible. He laughed and said, "No." Well, I explained, the first part of the Bible is called the Old Testament and it was written by the Jews in Hebrew, and the New Testament was written around the time that Jesus Christ was on earth and it was written in Greek. So the languages of the original manuscripts of the Bible are Hebrew and Greek. He was a little surprised.

He proceeded to ask me what the difference is between Christians and Mormons. "Well," I explained, "Christians believe in what is called the Trinity, and the Mormons don't. I explained that there is one God eternally...and that One God exists in three different states/forms/persons...God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. It seems like there are three Gods, but it's really One. The Mormons believe that we humans can become Gods, and they don't believe in the Trinity...among other things." He was intrigued.

He asked me what good Christianity is to the state/government. I described that most Christians would desire a separation between church and state because we would never want the government to impose on religious beliefs. I asked him if he's ever heard the “gospel” or the “good news” about Jesus Christ. He said, “No.”

So, I described that there is and always has been this One God. He created all things...and every good thing on earth comes from Him. He created humans [Adam and Eve] and they sinned by disobeying God's laws. This sin is also in us. I pointed at him and said, "So that means you’re sinful," then I pointed at myself and said, "and I'm sinful." I told him that we are created to be in a relationship with God and that if we don't repent in believe in Jesus Christ [in that our sins were paid for by Jesus' death] the Son of God for the forgiveness of our sins then we will spend eternity in hell. I described hell means separation from God and all the good things we encounter on earth [never ending torment].

"So," he said, "why are there all these denominations?" I described how a Christian denomination is principally grounded in the fact that the people that are a part of it believe in the gospel that I just told you. He asked why in the Middle Ages that Roman Catholics disagreed with some of the things the denominations believed [He was trying to make a case that basically all generations of Christians negate the truth of their message because it's different in every age]. I told him that part of the reason that people thought differently back then was because people couldn't read, and the leaders did not teach what the Bible says. He seemed to acknowledge my rebuttal.

"So," he said, "are you going to be a priest." I said, "No." I described how, Lord willing, I will be a minister/servant and a pastor. Then he started asking how I would make money as a pastor. I told him that a portion of the money that people give to the church will provide for my food and house and stuff. “As a pastor,” I described, “I will labor and work take care of the people God has brought to our church body by studying the Bible, helping spiritually, and in times of need.

He said, "So, like the bigger churches in West Des Moines...does that mean that you'll make more money the bigger the congregation. So being a pastor is a pretty good business strategy." I described how the "church" is not the building and it is the people that gather together. I told him that he's spot on in his observation that pastors of larger churches make more than smaller churches. I told him that private planes though [that he cited] is probably a poor use of God's money. I described that Christians see the money they have as God's money so it's used to teach about the gospel which is the power unto salvation. I told him that it’s not a business strategy…it’s people coming together to worship God and teach about Him to the world.

He said, “Yeah, like in Europe…they don’t believe in God anymore and so Christians send missionaries there to teach about what they believe.” I told him that he’s right. He said, “So then, there are not Christians anymore in Europe.” I told him, “Because Christians didn’t keep teaching the gospel in Europe [and many other factors]…it is largely an unbelieving place now. I told him that there are Roman Catholics there, but it is largely not effective in teaching the gospel.

I asked him if he wanted to meet sometime and he said, “No, I’m too busy.” I said, “How are you too busy?” He said, “Well, I have to work, sleep, and do things on my computer.” I told him he should go to the little Waukee Baptist Church [a block away] sometime and just watch what Christians do. He seemed a little uncomfortable with that.

I asked him if he had a Bible, and he said he did…so I told him to just pick it up and read it sometime. He looked at me and said, “You’re one of the most patient people I’ve ever seen here.”

Needless to say, if you go somewhere and you’re ticked because something inconvenienced you and you have to be patient...BE PATIENT! God might have ordered those events so that you might witness the glorious gospel. Praise God that I was able to today!

I intend on doing more business at the Waukee Post Office! See you soon Tom!

Soli Deo Gloria


Matt Proctor said...

praise God,
thanks for sharing this

Shane Vander Hart said...

Thank you for your faithfulness in being a witness for Christ.