It’s amazing to me when I consider all the teaching opportunities that we, as adults, have to impact our younger generations. Several days ago, our local car wash opened up again and started doing car interiors. Since it has been at least several months since I have had our cars cleaned, I decided to take Janet’s car over last night and get the dirt and dust removed.
I must have picked the right time to go, as the place was practically deserted and after taking the car through the wash, I pulled into the lanes where they do the interior work. They have a nice waiting room there and so I sat down to catch up on my emails while I waited. As I glanced around, I noticed several younger folks, college students, who had returned home earlier this spring and were working to earn extra money for the fall semester.
Several of the college kids greeted me by name, having remembered our cars from last summer when I was a frequent visitor to the facility. Of course, I asked how they had been and was pleasantly surprised when several of them struck up a conversation with me before closing. Jared has just finished his freshman year at Butler and Sara has just completed her first year down in Cincinnati. I learned about their aspirations and goals for their lives and the kinds of courses they were taking to get where they wanted to be.
Sara told me about a course she had taken on the “historical Jesus.” Of course, I asked lots of questions as I imagine that this is a slippery slope in colleges these days. Sure enough, the coursework had to do with studying the words of Jesus and trying to determine whether they were “real” or not – in other words, did Jesus actually exist and if so, were his words reliable or were the parables written by others and merely attributed to Jesus?
While I hope that Sara is a believer, it is clear that she doesn’t have a deep knowledge of the Scripture and I yearn for her to have a deep personal relationship with Jesus. She told me all about the perspectives of the various faith traditions she had experienced in class – including Jewish, Catholic, Muslim and mainstream Christianity. She then told me that the class was graded using different colored marbles. Black for disbelief, red for certain belief in Jesus and various other colors for intermediate positions.
I mentioned that there must not be an official class position that believes in the inerrancy of Scripture and that if we really believe, the authenticity of the Bible is not up for debate. It became clear to me that the class had been more of a conversation piece and not really a place to study Jesus and the Bible, at least on a theological level. In fact, neither Sara nor Jaden had experienced a strong faith background so it was a little more difficult to connect. I was kind of surprised after the intensity of the class that Sara had taken this past semester.
I decided that I would try to appeal to them on the basis of several Bible stories that are popular in the kinds of classes that Sara participated in this spring. Perhaps in this way I could create interest in recounting various events to them. The denial of Jesus by Peter prior to the crucifixion and the restoration of Peter after the resurrection were among the illustrations that I used. Once we started to talk, they were mesmerized and they started asking all kinds of questions about Jesus and the Bible. Soon there were five or six young adults standing around listening. In fact, we talked until I had to leave and I promised to speak with them again the next time I was in.
It was so great to see these young people light up when we actually spoke about the word of God and got away from the debate as to whether the Bible is real or not. Maybe the Holy Spirit was at work and their hearts are being prepared for something greater than any of us realize.
In any event, a normally ordinary few minutes became something very special. You just never know when you might walk into a chance to affect someone’s life. Our verse for tonight is from the apostle Paul, as he wrote to his young pastor friend, Timothy. Paul tells his young protege, in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
That’s how I felt tonight – teaching Bible stories to young adults at the car wash! My encouragement tonight is that you never know when the Holy Spirit may present the chance to impact others for Christ. My prayer is that we may all be alert to the opportunities that present themselves to us and that God will use us as instruments to draw people to Himself. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…