17 January 2008

Of Wedding Gifts and Coming to Faith

I bought a book from Half Price Books the other day, I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. That I bought this particular book is not important (although it's got a great title); what intrigued me was the card left inside of it. Apparently, Grandma and Grandpa bought Jess and Brian the book as a wedding gift, writing the following in the card: "Hope you'll read this book for yourselves. It is a difficult, tough read/only for the brightest and best. We are so thankful that we could come to your wedding. Hope your honeymoon is full of fun. We love you both. . . ."

It's not difficult to figure out what happened. Jess and Brian read the title (apparently they are atheists or at least not Christians, whereas Grandma and Grandpa are Christians), rolled their eyes, and tossed it in the pile of stuff to take back. They probably kept it in the house, hidden, for a good year or so before deciding to take it to HPB.

This is not the first time I have gotten a used book that had some sort of message in it. Last year, I bought a book from Amazon about the death of children and infants (I worked it into a teaching series on Heaven), and in the front was a message to a lady who had lost a child to miscarriage.

What I get from all this is the fact that sending someone a book does not change much. If giving someone a book to read, or actually reading books, really accomplished what the giver/author intended, there would be very few problems left in the world. The Bible, anyone?

Bringing someone to faith in Christ involves more than a presentation of facts, be it in a book, a discussion, or some other method of sharing the gospel. There must be (caution: trendy word ahead) authenticity, an evident and consistent genuineness of one's faith. The world will know two things when we live what we believe: 1) because of Jesus, new life is available to everyone, and 2) belonging to Jesus really does make a difference. Jesus himself prayed, "I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:20-21).

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