Good Friday to You,
Two weekends ago, our family had the opportunity to go back “home” and worship with my Mom at Marshall Baptist. We were excited to be able to worship with Mom, Aunt Anita, and Grandma at their church. Though this was not the church I grew up in, I knew several people there. Toby Daugherty was one of those people. Toby was 3 years behind me in school; in my sister’s class. Because of my sister, our really small school, and both of us playing basketball, Toby and I knew each other pretty well. That Sunday morning, we laughed about some “drove home from basketball practice too fast” stories (all the while looking over our shoulders to make sure our boys weren’t listening.) But, of all the memories we share from “back in the day,” there is one that stands above all the rest – the day Toby walked into my office.
During most of my years at Seminary, I was a pastor in my hometown while driving back and forth to Louisville for classes each week. One day, I was working in the church office when a familiar face walked through the door. It was Toby. We chatted for a few minutes before he said, “Michael, I feel lost.” Though I was a young pastor, I had already heard this feeling described to me many times and I just knew where this conversation was headed: I would share the Good News of Jesus by reading several important Scriptures with Toby. He would then realize that he had, in fact, already experienced salvation in Jesus and was just having a spiritual “dry spell.”
We read through those verses. I explained them and asked questions to confirm his understanding. I asked, “Toby, based on what we just read, have you experienced salvation through Jesus?” I was sure his answer would be yes. I was already mentally lining up verses to help him with rekindling his spiritual fire when Toby went off script. Without hesitation, he responded, “No.” I was shocked. It was so surprising that I still remember that day over twenty years later.
Why was I so surprised?
I knew where he went to church… every Sunday. I had heard the Gospel of Jesus presented many times there. I knew the pastor who had baptized him. Toby wasn’t perfect (I knew him well enough to know some of his sins), but he had done all the right “church stuff” and he sure didn’t seem like a fraud.
But, somehow, I got it all wrong. Toby didn’t just feel lost. He was lost.
It was really inspiring to see Toby and his family last weekend. He was Deacon of the Week for their church. I noticed the way people approached Toby and his wife Teresa. They are clearly loved and respected in their community. They are impacting many lives in Clark County and beyond. I’m so thankful Toby had the courage to ask about the lostness he was feeling. I’m honored he chose to ask it in my office! Are you asking these questions… both for you and those around you?
This weekend, we come to the close of our Questions series. They really have been some of the most important questions we will ever ask. This weekend’s question is just as important: What Difference Does It Make? Having talked through these epic life questions, we know that experiencing the life made possible for us through Jesus is NOT simply knowing the right answers. It’s also NOT doing a certain list of church stuff. The answer to this week’s question reveals why Jesus says that many will assume salvation with Him, but totally miss it. Take a look at our passage. (Hint: Notice the order.)
Hope to see you this weekend,