This past Saturday at St. Vincent de Paul, where our church volunteers once a month to feed the homeless, I had a conversation with a guy who was with another group volunteering there. He was a parent of one of the girls on a high school sports club. Right off the bat, another Christian brother and I were talking with him and we let him know that we were Christians. That opened up the conversation for spiritual topics. So, my friend asked him if he goes to church, and he said, “Well not so much anymore because we’re really busy, we’ve got the girls going to Lacrosse, we have a lot of other things going on, so we don’t really have time.” I followed up with a question, “So then, would you consider yourself to be a Christian?” He said, “Oh definitely!” I filed that in my back pocket. Not much else was said right then, but I knew that since we’d both been assigned to work on the garbage, I would be having a lot of time to talk to him.
At one point during our shift when there was a lull in our garbage work, I asked him about his spiritual journey. He repeated the statement about him not having enough time to go to church. I replied, “Well, it’s only one hour a week, and we have a 168 hours a week. The truth is, we make time for things that we want to make time for. I’m not trying to convict you – I was there too and I know that life does get busy – I understand that. But, consider this: 100 years from today, we will not be concerned at all about what we’re concerned about today. Things that concern us today will be just a distant memory.” He replied, “Yeah because I’ll be dead.” And I said, “Well, you said you were Christian, so as Christians we believe in the afterlife, so actually you won’t be dead, you’ll be alive and you’ll be in one of two places either heaven or hell. So it’s important for us to have an eternal perspective as we go through life. We sometimes need to back up and just take a look at the big picture and realize that we’re all going to die one day. With everything we’re doing in life, we need to ask whether it will matter 100 years from today. Am I spending my time on things that will matter eternally?” He seemed to acknowledge that without much to say in return, but I could see that I made him think about it. That was pretty much all I said related to spiritual things. We talked about all sorts of other things including career and how he thought it was so good to be doing this volunteer work. He thought it was good for us and it makes us feel good as well. He mentioned that it was good for his daughter, who was there, to see that.
So I hope that this conversation I had with this fellow will make some impact on him and get him to reconsider his priorities in life.
In Jesus’s Holy and Precious Name I pray, Amen!