BBQ, Biscuits, and the Bible

My best friend and I made a visit to a hospital in Birmingham the other night. We visited a young couple whose sweet baby is in the NICU. We talked for a while. I shared some funny and true stories and we encouraged them. We prayed and headed out. The next order of business was that ole-time decision, “Where we eating?” After some debate, we settled on a local BBQ joint. When we came in, the host made comments about our looks. See, my best friend lives in a suit. Sleeps in a suit. Eats in a suit. Vacations in a suit. I am almost convinced both of his kids were conceived while he was in a suit. I know he had a suit on for their births! I, on the other hand, have a beach bum, laid-back fisherman, disheveled style about me. When we entered the restaurant the host asked us what we were up to. We told him we had been on a church visit. Boom. Switch on. He said, “Oh a couple of pastors!” The suit always gets that response. I added, ‘Well a pastor and a sinner.” He responded with, “Oh a pastor and a singer!’ Yes, I am a singer. Voice very much like Johnny Cash. Blessed with a voice of an angel. Well, I wish. He took us to our booth and Introduced us to our waiter, Jesus. He had the look down. Long hair and a beard. Spot on Southern Jesus. Our host told him we were pastors and he also lit up. He took our drink orders. Water for the pastor, and a Coke for the sinner. He took our orders and came back with the host in tow. They talked about the Bible, preaching, culture, churches, and anything spiritual. Jesus wanted to know our favorite verses. Mine is 1 John 3:16. He took notes. They asked about what we did for a living, a lawyer, hence the suit, and me, a career coach, instructor, and student pastor. They asked where we went to school. The lawyer went to Samford and law school, and the sinner went to UAB (Go Blazers) and Liberty. Liberty? Light on again. That big Christian college. Yes. We discussed tons of topics. Jesus took notes. Our food came we ate, and the host and Jesus continued to talk with us. He told us that other than the Sunday church rush, there are not a lot of Christians coming in. One of the things that struck me was the fact that people don’t talk about those things openly, in the South of all places.

What I learned from the encounter was that people are thirsty. Both of these men were relatively young believers. They were excited about scripture and the Bible. The lawyer and I have been Christians for decades. The new has worn off. It is comfortable. It is a known part of our lives. It is like a habit. It is like an old friendship. I tried to remember when and if I was that excited when I got saved. There must be a difference between getting saved as a kid and being saved as an adult. I study scripture and create lessons every day. Over the years excitement has for me turned to wonder and deep appreciation for Jesus and what God has/is/will done/doing/do for me, the sinner. Maybe that is part of growing a relationship. When I first met my wife, butterflies, all the love songs were about us. Birds chirping. All of it. She, my bride of 16 years, didn’t even like me when she met me. True story. Now, our relationship is great, easy, and comfortable. We have grown to know each other deeply. That is what our relationship with Jesus should be. Growing together and becoming one. We wrapped up our dinner and told these two gentlemen thank you. Left a tip. Headed out. The only bad news of the evening was there were no biscuits to take home! What a shame!

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