Why do they find you when you least want to be bothered?
50 minutes. I just wanted to get in and do my cardio & reading multitasking routine. I didn’t want to talk. I wanted to read. And I didn’t lug my 5lb text and quarterlie along with me to the gym for no good reason. I just wanted to catch up on the Sabbath School lesson and then get a head start on my reading for class.
He just appeared. Richard Simmons type minus the hair. He’s the guy with the lavender tank top and shorts. “Oh, no. Please don’t stop. Please don’t stop.” I quickly recollected our conversation sometime within the last 6 months. I continued to read my lesson holding it as if to ward him off, and then I couldn’t register one more letter without being interrupted by his political rant. I just nodded and smiled and kept moving, but he just kept yapping and cussing and laughing at his own not-so-funny jokes.
I guess Obama started it. He was on one of the televisions airing The View, and so this stranger started in on how the republicans are whining about democrats who are really the ones who actually do something for our economy. It always happens to me at random. I’m not the most approachable person in the gym. I get in and get out – minding my own business. But occasionally these random quirks will start discussing politics. Maybe it’s the law books (I should leave them at home). So anyways, in an aggravated tone I quickly prayed “God, tell me what to say or make him go away.” I was hoping for the latter being more concerned about getting through the lesson and on to my assigned reading.
I tried to listen intently over the high tempo music and weights clanking all around us. He spoke with a raspy tone and said about 10 miles a minute. I didn’t catch everything, but pretty much everything was about conspiracy and how education and wealth are foolish aspirations. I finally jumped in and offered a few lines of hope trying to steer the conversation towards Christ. He responded with, “Yeah, but that’s the thing about republicans. If you are going to say Christianity is the right thing, then you ought to actually strive to be that way.” I had an answer for that, but what he said (as one-sided as the statement may be) hit me when I finally got rid of him and opened my quarterlie with the big bold print on the cover “Answering Christ’s Call: Lessons on Discipleship”
My cell phone had interrupted us, and I thought “Hmm, maybe this is God giving me my out.” Of course I said “Excuse me,” and he went away. 31 minutes. Before I could gripe any further, a sense of guilty irony broke my sweat with a chill. “What was that Janice? God practically had to force the words from your mouth.” We are on lesson 13 – the end of the quarter and you still haven’t swapped out your frames. Rather than seeking out disciplees, I was more invested in getting rid of an odd one. I could have stayed there scolding myself, but God must have planted that stranger’s words in my head “…strive to be that way.” We won’t always have the desire, but we need to know enough to call on Him to give us the passion for reaching lost souls – even when we don’t feel like it. I thought, “At least, I prayed.”
I’m not sure what all I said to that man, but I know when I started talking about what we have to live for being more than a political tug of war he started asking me to repeat myself as if I wasn’t enunciating well enough. I had a tug of war going on within my own heart. One part of me was feeling like I need to help this guy see things differently for his soul’s sake, and the other part of me just wanted to maximize my 50 minutes. Being a disciple as a young adult is challenging when really important priorities call us to manage our time strictly. But God’s call can come at any time, and if we don’t want to answer – we need a light. Call on Him to burn within you a compassion for humanity like only Christ can ignite.
Although, I didn’t get around to reading about business organizations, I made it through the rest of the Sabbath School lesson. But, my unwanted disciplee had already helped me refocus on the object of the lesson.