Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Missional, Meals, and Mario

Remember, too, that we’re witnesses to grace, not to good works and certainly not to good catering. Jim Petersen tells the story of his friend Mario, with whom he had studied the Bible for four years before Mario became a Christian. The Bible studies reflected the fact that Mario was a Marxist intellectual who’d read all the leading Western philosophers. A couple of years after his conversion, Jim and Mario were reminiscing: “Do you know what it really was that made me decide to become a Christian?” Mario asked. Petersen thought of all their Bible studies and philosophical discussions. Mario’s reply took him by surprise. “Remember that first time I stopped by your house? We were on our way someplace together, and I had a bowl of soup with you and your family. As I sat there observing you, your wife, and your children, and how you related to each other, I asked myself, ‘When will I have a relationship like this with my fiancée?’ When I realized that the answer was ‘never,’ I concluded I had to become a Christian for the sake of my own survival.” Petersen did remember the occasion. He remembered his children behaving badly and his frustration at having to correct them in front of Mario. Yet Mario saw the grace of Christ binding that family together.

- Tim Chester, A Meal with Jesus, p. 95

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