But I Don't Need God
But I Don’t Need God
Kelley and I drove up to dump the trash before we left our KOA campground in Minneapolis. A grinning man with black hair and a mustache walked up and asked, “So what is Pocket Full of Quarters?”
The sign on the side of Happy worked again. “I travel all over America writing people’s spiritual stories,” I briefly explained. “I also talk to people about God.”
“You must get some interesting stories,” he laughed.
“Yes, I sure do,” I agreed. “Americans take their religious freedom quite literally.
Dave and I introduced ourselves. “ What about you?” I asked. “Do you go to church or believe in God?”
“I used to go to church but I haven’t been in years. I found out I don’t need it. I was raised in a strict Catholic church. I was naive and taught to believe one way about the world. When I became a man of the world I realized that the world wasn’t the way the church taught me. I got taken advantage of by a lot of people before I wised up. Now I depend on my intellect. I’m not sure I believe in God and I don’t see why I need Him if I have my intellect.”
“Do you ever miss the church?” I asked.
“Not at all. I live my life doing the best I can. If that’s not good enough for God, I don’t want any part of Him. I don’t understand why God punishes people when they’re doing the best they can.”
“It sounds like you were taught about a punishing God,” I commented. “My relationship is with a God of grace who views me as perfect no matter what I do. Jesus came to earth and took the sin of the world on His shoulders so I can be forgiven. He teaches me lessons from time to time but He’s forgiven me for everything past and future.”
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. NASU
I continued. “To become a Christian, all you have to do is believe in Jesus, confess your sins, and ask Him into your life. You probably went through confirmation as a teenager. Did you ever personally ask Jesus to be a part of your life?”
“You’re the second person to ask me that,” he said thoughtfully.
“Aha!” I said. “God must be working on you. So what’s the answer?”
“I can’t say as I’ve ever prayed anything for myself. If someone else is in trouble, sometimes I pray for them but I figure I need to depend on myself. I do just fine by myself. Besides, if I go back to church, I’d have to tell people about God and try to help them. I figure what others think about God is their business. I help people if they ask but I don’t volunteer. I just try to be the best person I can be. People that know me would say I’m good,” he said a little defensively.
“So you’ve never met Jesus Christ personally,” I said wistfully. “You don’t even know what you’re missing by not combining your intelligence with His wisdom.”
“What do you mean?” he asked, intrigued.
Dave had described his life. He was married and retired from a successful career at age 60. His hobby was his guitar and he had spent his life making side money with music. He was the proud grandfather of two teenage boys. He and his wife were in Minnesota picking them up from the airport to take them back to their lakefront home in North Dakota. By most standards, he really had done just fine. So why did he need God?
“If you’ve never asked Jesus into your life, you don’t know Him personally,” I repeated. “God promises us His wisdom. It is ours for the asking. Let me ask you something. If there were more to life than you’re experiencing, would you want to know it?”
“I guess I would. But if He’s real, I’d sure have a lot of questions for Him.”
“What kind of questions?”
“About why people are the way they are and why so many bad things happen.”
“You mentioned that people took advantage of you and that was why you left the church. You know, the Bible warns us about the evil in the world and tells us to be shrewd. I’ve learned how to not be taken advantage of by reading the Bible. We may not like evil but at least the Bible warns us about it and tells us how to protect ourselves from it. When you were in church as a child, did you ever read the Bible?”
“Not really,” he admitted. “I’m sure I heard some of it.”
“So you also don’t know what the Bible says about life. The answers to many of your questions are in the Bible. It’s pretty interesting and you should give it a try. I have a challenge for you if you but it will take courage. I want you to pray every day for the next two weeks, asking God to reveal Himself to you. You might feel silly but do it anyway. If He isn’t real, you have nothing to lose. If He is real, you have everything to gain. Are you willing to do this?”
“Yes, I think I am,” he nodded after thinking about it for a second. “You’re right. I don’t really have anything to lose.” I gave him a Pocket Full of Quarters card. “I’ll write you and let you know how this experiment turns out,” he promised.
Pray for Dave as God answers his prayers. All Dave has to do to change his entire life is to ask Jesus to be a part of his life. He may think his life is meaningful now but he hasn’t seen anything yet!
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. NASU
To see a picture of Dave, used by his permission, go to the photo gallery and look under Minnesota Roadside Views.