“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:13-15
So I’m walking out of Starbucks this morning, getting coffee after a chilly night sleep in my hammock in the Rocky Mountain National Park and my blog lesson is unfolding in front of me.
A man with a very sweet beagle, named Smiles, approaches me after I comment on his dog and begins a rant on the world, traffic lanes, the president (and the need for a live camera feed on his desk) and the moral evolvement of dogs. The more I listened, the less sense he made and the longer I was held captive by his nonsensical arguments for life, the existence for God and the four letter words he continued to use to describe how he views the world.
I was sorry, or not so sorry to say, that I extricated myself as quickly as possible. I did not share the gospel, and returned to my coffee after which seemed like a never ending monologue. Then I come and sit down, open up 1 Peter 3 and read, “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asked you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” To my defense, he man did not ask nor did I share. I listened with politeness and respect. Wishing him a nice day but not sharing with him the hope for which he was unknowingly searching.
So was this encounter a coincidence? Could I have laid out the gospel? Should I have laid out the gospel? Would the man in his manic state even listened? I confess, I was not thinking that I wanted to get into a lengthy, even unpredictable conversation. I’m sharing this to let you know God brought it to my attention through his Word after I left the exchange.
Perhaps I should have taken to heart what Peter said and been ready to share. In truth, I was ready, just not willing to risk my morning or quiet time to talk with a man I pre-judged as potentially volatile. Yet Peters’ words are accurate. “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?” (V.13). Did I fear for my life? Not entirely, but maybe that this man would steal my time.
Peter writes, “Even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.” (V.13b) So perhaps I should take time to share in the future, knowing that I might suffer in loss of some of my rights or time, and knowing that I will be blessed in doing so. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened?” Was I fearful? Was I frightened? No but the man, who I assume was homeless (and perhaps not in his right mind) could have been a danger.
And finally, Peter says, “revere Christ as Lord.” And I will be reminded to “always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within me.” For he guides my steps, directs my path, leads me toward his bounty and blessing.
Today’s lesson is a good reminder that the Lord is with me. He is near. He will guide and direct my steps and lead me into paths of righteousness for his name sake.
“O Lord God, I thank you for loving me. For the opportunity to escape from the routine and remain in ministry. I thank you for the encounter with this man, your Word and Holy Spirit. I thank you for speaking to me, reminding me that I am not my own and that I was bought with a price. I thank you for the beauty of your love and the majesty of your creation. I pray that I might be obedient in all things to you and for your glory this week and for the years to come. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen