Last week on American Idol, Jennifer Lopez wore a dress with shoulder pads for the second time this season. Don’t get me wrong. I am an eighties girl. I don’t have anything against shoulder pads. I just find it to be an interesting fashion choice for someone like her. When I mentioned that to my family, my twelve year old shrugged, “Maybe that’s all she had clean.”
Now you and I both know that JLo had more than one dress clean. She probably never has to wear an article of clothing more than once, diamond studded or not, if she doesn’t want to. Her closet is, no doubt, something like the one belonging to Princess Mia on The Princess Diaries 2, tiaras and all. She wore that dress because she meant to wear that dress. She pulled it out of her personal treasure trove specifically for the occasion. A mistake, in my opinion.
You know, JLo isn’t the only one with a treasure trove to pull from. I have one, too, though not like Jennifer’s, and I was reminded of that during my personal Bible study recently. I have known Jesus for well over thirty years and, as the wife of a minister, have spent more hours than many people my age focusing on “God things,” not always because I wanted to but because it comes with the territory. I have spent years of my life listening to sermons and Bible studies and have had many one on one conversations with people who are doing great things for the Kingdom of God. Last but not least, I have a Bible that contains Truth pertinent to any and all issues that may arise related to the human experience as well as God’s clearly delineated plan of salvation. That Bible tells me to be ready in and out of season to share the reason for the hope that I have in Jesus.
Why, then, didn’t I respond properly the day that a woman, looking haggard and a bit crazed, showed up on my front porch looking for help? It was about nine o’clock in the morning, and I had just finished watching The Today Show when I heard a banging on my door. Before I had even opened it all the way, a giant lady reached in and pushed the door back, reeking of stale cigarette smoke and soured laundry. “It’s all gone to hell in a hand basket, and I’m straight trippin’, Boo!” she exclaimed.
Now, to my knowledge, I have never been anyone’s Boo, so maybe that’s why I didn’t know quite what to say. I stood there stunned. After a few awkward seconds, I think I responded with something lame like, “I’m so sorry. Would you like a Diet Pepsi?”
I wish I could say that I shared the gospel with that woman. I don’t know that I have ever come across a person so ripe to hear it. But, I didn’t. I did get to the bottom of her immediate need and was able to help her purchase school uniforms for her boys, but I missed the chance to introduce her to Jesus. After she left, I realized my mistake and my heart sank. It turns out that the woman’s boys went to my school, and so I tried repeatedly to find an opportunity to make things right, but I never got the opportunity to share Jesus with her again.
Whether they admit it or not, those who don’t know Jesus want to hear the Truth of the gospel. Deep down, they want to believe that life is more than they have found it to be on their own. When they seek us out asking for help, they are expecting the real, life-changing answers from us that we claim to have. In a manner of speaking, that day on my front porch was my big moment on stage, and I blew it. A heart full of Truth at my disposal, I offered a woman shallow words and a quick fix in her time of real need because I wasn’t prepared. She needed Jesus, and I handed her a cold beverage because that’s all I had handy. A tragic mistake.