I've been bummed about not being able to go out with Team Hope lately, because of my work schedule. So I switched shifts with the other Christian server (Zack) in hopes that I would be able to go this past Friday. Well, as it turned out, I was so tired after being run so hard by the Friday lunch crowd, I was unable to do anything but rest--a first for me, because I've only missed Team Hope one other time when I wasn't at another spiritually-minded event.
But the Lord brought Team Hope to me during my shift. Now I know that, if a customer gets offended by my words, I could get fired. So, while I endeavor to shine the Light of the World, I am making sure that I do my job well so that the customer sees the connection between the great service they received and Jesus Christ. It's the only way to make sure I don't get fired, and it's a great way to glorify His work in my life in the process.
In fact, Wednesday I was learning the practicality of the words that Pastor Danny has quoted several times from the pulpit: "The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of cheap price." My friend's bicycle got a flat the previous Thursday on the way home, and Wal-Mart said they didn't have the inner tube size for it (it's a pretty big bike), and I didn't know where a bicycle shop was, so I just grabbed a Wal-Mart cheap-o and rode it to and from work. And regretted it.
The bicycles I've been riding all have that wonderful disconnect between the seat and the frame, held together by a spring on the shaft. It keeps the bumps from ramming your rear as you travel along. Well, a cheap bicycle doesn't have such a comfort-minded construction, and I said to myself, "I can get this quality from a pawn shop." So I did, and saved about $25 more (after replacing the inner tube twice).
And I regretted that, too, because the inner tube couldn't overcome the dry-rotted front tire. I had a flat on the way to work Wednesday, and I had to walk from Haines Road and 59th Ave N. the rest of the way to work. Someone from church was at Cracker Barrel when I got there, and he knew where a bicycle shop was and he got me a quality inner tube. But, in the meantime, I got to tell my coworkers about the saying and, while they were laughing, point out that I got it from my pastor.
After my shift, I got a ride home from another friend from Calvary Chapel (who had actually requested me as a server, but I was cut by the time he came in). While he was finishing up, he said to his waitress, "This is a good man." To which I immediately replied (as he expected me to), "No, I'm not a good man, I'm a redeemed man. The only good that you see in me is Jesus Christ." Thanks, John, for that lead-in. =)
With this inspiring memory in my mind as I worked Friday, I noticed a book held by one of my customers as he took his seat and I greeted him. It's author was L. Ron Hubbard. Yes, that guy.
So, as I took and entered his order, I prayed hard, “Lord, please let me get to this man!” I knew I didn't have a whole lot of time, and I didn't want to neglect my other tables, but I did not want to let this fish get away!!
After I had delivered his food to his table, I asked him, “So, I noticed that you're reading a book by L. Ron Hubbard. Isn't he the founder of Scientology?”
“Are you a Scientologist?”
“Been one for four years.” Oh, so he's very deceived. Help me, Lord!
I hesitated, but he encouraged me to ask anything I wished about Scientology. So I asked if Dianetics was really a novel. He said that it's a “how-to manual” on the human mind. “So it's psychology?”
“No....If I drove to a mechanic and asked him to define what an engine is, and he couldn't tell me, do you think I would trust that mechanic with my car?” No. “I've asked many psychologists [to define the human mind] and they said they didn't know.”
“Well, that doesn't surprise me. I don't have any faith in psychology.”
Then he proceeded to tell me how Scientology doesn't really require you to believe—it helps you to see. I didn't comment to that, but a verse of Scripture came immediately to mind: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him...” So Scientology is clearly diametrically opposed to Scripture.
But even more than that, it is deceptive. Faith doesn't mean that you believe something that is obviously not even true. Faith is basing your decisions in life on revealed principles (I hope that they are revealed to us by God, or we're in real trouble) without necessarily seeing the results. The reason for having faith is that the One who promised has already proven Himself faithful—trustworthy.
Anyway, I didn't waste time arguing the point with him, because I had other tables to serve. So I excused myself, telling him that I would return. (And it helped him get to enjoy his food before it got cold.) I continued to pray, not knowing which direction to go. I considered using the Good Person Test, but Scientology is full of tests, and I didn't think I had time to administer it and still do well with my other tables.
I had already asked him what he believed about life after death, and he had said that we come back again and do it all over again (which he told me differs from reincarnation by the thought that your status in your next life is not determined by your behavior in this life--we all get a clean slate, according to Scientology); but I knew that if I followed that trail to try to show him how wrong it was, we could be there for hours.
When I finally got back to him, I apologized for not getting back sooner, and I tried to excuse myself, because I had a table waiting for me (fortunately, they were a group of ladies catching up and weren't bothered by the ensuing delay; the Lord blessed me that day with three tables for whom I had unwarranted delays, and another whom I did not serve extremely well, and I still had no complaints; I appreciate grace, but I need to do better), but he stopped me by asking, “So what is it in life that you are trying to accomplish on your own?”
I didn't need a line to turn the conversation. The Lord supplied one through him. “Nothing: I depend on Jesus Christ for everything.”
“That's great. You know, one of the basic tenets of Scientology is that you never change someone else's religion.”
“One of the basic tenets of Christianity is that you seek to change everyone else's religion!”
Then he tried to say that there were all kinds of Christians who were using the principles of Dianetics in order to help people overcome different difficult issues in life.
“The bottom line of Christianity is this: 'What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and yet lose his own soul?' It doesn't matter how good my life is if I end up in the flames.” I thanked him for his time, shook his hand, told him I hoped to see him in Heaven, and bid him adieu.
I didn't get to talk about sin, righteousness, and Judgment, but I think the Holy Spirit was already working on him. I didn't get his name, but you can still pray for him. Thanks for reading.