Within a span of fifteen fast minutes, a young man asked me the questions everyone asks sometime in their lives.
I love to travel. I love meeting new people, hearing their stories, observing their quirks, discovering neat tidbits about life, culture and country. My family vows that at times they don’t know me as I morph from quiet mama into investigative reporter.
On one flight, our family couldn’t sit together. Jack agreed to sit with the girls and I took a single seat beside an older woman. Soon she and I were wrapped in our own little world, oblivious to anyone around us. The way my family tells the story, they looked over to see me and this stranger head to head, talking nonstop.
“Oh no,” one daughter said. “She’s doing it again.”
“Whatever do you find to talk about?” my husband asked as our feet touched the Tucson airport concourse.
“Lots of things.” I grinned at him, and launched into the short version of how this woman and her husband had owned a ranch north of Benson, Arizona for years. Although perfect strangers, she and I found a common ground in Arizona lore, politics, and current events.
I waved a dismissive hand. “It’s fun learning about people.” They just shook their heads.
I think they began to believe me when we entered the breakfast room at a Hawthorne Suites hotel some years later. I didn’t have to prod the young man who served us – he was ready to chat! I don’t remember if we told him Jack was a minister or that he saw us pray before we started to eat. But somehow he discovered that we were Christians. His chattiness went into high gear. He would leave us then come back and talk some more, expressing his dreams, his longings, and his uncertainty about life, never waiting for any answers but delighted to find a listening audience. After we left, I realized what a gift this young had given us.
In fifteen minutes, “Elvis” had verbalized the deeper life questions that I think most people who do not follow Christ are asking. Here are Elvis’ questions:
What am I supposed to be doing with my life?
How can I strengthen my relationships?
How come bad things happen in the world?
How come I keep making wrong decisions? Will God keep forgiving me?
Will you pray for me?
Will I make it to Heaven? I’m terrified.
I really appreciate Elvis’ ability to articulate those questions. I think most folks have those same questions but aren’t able to bring them to the surface like Elvis did. At least these are the questions they should be asking and the best news of all is that Jesus-followers can provide solid answers to those questions.
The question for me was this: If Elvis had stopped for breath, could I have answered his questions?
I believe that Christianity is the only faith system that has reliable answers to Elvis’ questions? But could I articulate the answers as easily as he did?
Jesus told his followers in Matthew 5:14 that we are the salt of the earth. When we lead people toward asking the important life questions, then give them credible, relevant and truth base asnwers, we act as salt for we are making people thirsty for Jesus.
So here’s my challenge to you.Take a question a week. Write down how you would answer that question according to what the Bible says. Don’t be afraid to ask a small group, a church elder, or your pastor to expand on your answer.
Peter told his readers,
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reasons for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
Let’s be intentional about preparing those answers. Let’s give Elvis and those like him reasons for our hope.