Crusty Turns a Spiritual Corner
“Yo! Gary! Over here,” I heard a familiar voice call out. It was Crusty T. Christian.
“Hi, Crusty,” I called back. “What are ya drinking today?”
“Coke, please,” came the reply.
Minutes later we were sitting across from each other by a window. “Let’s pick the conversation up where we left off yesterday,” I said.
“We don’t see eye to eye on that. Let’s talk about something else,” he quickly replied. Just then an elderly man walked up to a waste container outside and began shifting through its contents looking for returnable bottles. “Whoa,” Crusty commented. “Thank God I’m not like that poor slob! When God gets a hold of him, is he ever in trouble!”
As I sat watching the man rummage through the trash I thought about how many times I’ve rummaged through life looking for something to fill the emptiness in my spirit. “I can’t believe you said that, Crusty! I thought you were a Christian.”
“You remember the parable of the talents?” he replied.
“I sure do.”
“Well that guy wasted the blessings God gave him, and now look at him! Serves him right,” Crusty said, with a sound of triumph.
“What did you do before you found Jesus?” I asked him.
“I didn’t find Jesus, Jesus found me. Praise God I’m not like that heathen!”
Crusty reminded me of the Pharisee that prayed, “Thank God I’m not like that sinner over there.” I looked Crusty in the eyes and silently prayed that somehow God might find a way of breaking Crusty’s hardened outer crust of his spirit. Little did I know my meeting Crusty, the day before was not by chance but by divine design.
“Yup! When God gets through with that guy out there come judgment day I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes,” Crusty replied, shaking his head.
“I think we’ll all be in for a surprise come judgment day, Crusty,” I answered back, “a real big surprise.”
“What do you mean by that?” Crusty said, sounding a little irritated.
“Do you know what’s in the man’s heart?” I asked.
“No, do you?”
“No, I sure don’t,” I replied. “But, this I do know each one of us is searching in life for something that will feed our souls. Because some of us trashed our lives we’re like that man rummaging through the trash looking for something we’ve thrown away.”
I noticed the expression changing on his face. “My life was sure trashed before I met Jesus,” he answered. “You mean in a way that’s me out there?”
Looking him in the eyes I replied, “I’m only saying be careful in how you judge people, you don’t know what’s in their hearts. Perhaps that man has squandered away a fortune, but on the other hand maybe he’s just down on his luck. Or maybe, just maybe, Jesus is testing us to see how devoted Christians we are.”
“Wow!” Crusty exclaimed, “I sure have a lot to learn. You sure seem to know everything about being a Christian. Do you think we could meet again so you could help me become a better believer?”
Putting my soda down, “Crusty, we can meet as often as you’d like to but let’s get one thing straight. I am not a know-it-all when it comes to being a Christian while I may have more experience than you we are still beginners and we can learn from each other. Are you okay with that?”
“That works for me,” he replied, “but if you don’t mind I need to be going can we meet again same time tomorrow?”
“I’ll be here but it’s your turn to buy the sodas. Make mine a diet.”
“You got it brother, see you tomorrow. I think I’ll try to find that man who was going through the trash and see if I can help him.” I watched as he hurried away and silently prayed for courage and insight.
God would answer my prayer!
When finished Crusty T. Christian, Mall Evangelist will be a book on spiritual growth one like you have never seen before. It contains very little theology and very few quotes from the Bible. Spiritual growth as I see it no more than an ever increasing discovery of God, an ever expanding and deepening relationship with Jesus Christ, who is God all wrapped up for us to discover.
It is both fiction and non-fiction at the same time! Even though the situations may have come from real life the situations as you read them have been re-created and come to life in my imagination. The characters you will encounter have come from real persons I have encountered over the years in fact I’ve been each of them on different occasions.
My prayer is as you work your way through the following pages may the characters come to life for you, may you see Jesus in the circumstances you encounter on a daily basis, and may you, like Crusty, find a friend with whom you can share your innermost thoughts and fears.
Grace and PEACE,