An Arkie's Faith column from the February 1, 2017, issue of The Mena Star.
A couple of years ago I received a phone call from a customer in Alexandria, Louisiana. He had a 1965 Chevrolet pickup, and he wanted to get it painted. I gave him a price for painting a pickup and didn’t think much more about it. Why would someone from Alexandria have a vehicle painted in Mena? A few weeks later he called back and said that he was planning to drive the pickup to Mena to drop it off to be painted.
The day that he was supposed to drop off the vehicle, he called and said that he was running late. He had been having some mechanical problems. After several calls with updates on his problems he let me know that he would be in town around 10:00 p.m. We made arrangements to meet at my shop. It was a dark rainy night, but even in those conditions I could see that the pickup was in very rough shape. I considered telling my customer that the condition of his truck was so bad that I didn’t want the job, but he had just driven all day and had so many problems that I couldn’t tell him no. I did tell him that the pickup was in much worse shape than he had described it and that I would take the job with the understanding that I would only work on it when I had no other better-paying jobs in my shop.
The next morning when I inspected the truck in the daylight, my heart sank. It was much worse than I had thought it was the night before. It seemed like every square inch of the body was damaged. Every panel had major dents, and there were large rusted out areas on both doors and both bedsides. This was going to be a very time-consuming project. I contacted the customer and told him all of the problems that I had found but that I would keep my word and paint his truck for the agreed upon price. Because of the terrible condition of the vehicle, I said that I could make no promises about how long it would take. He understood that it would be a fill in project and that I would only work on when I had absolutely nothing else to do.
I have a job to do, and I have not been diligent about getting it done. I have gone out of my way to do anything else besides working on it. Finishing the job hasn’t been a priority for me.
Jesus has given us a job to do. In Mark 16:15 (NET) Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Our job is to preach the gospel. We need to take our job seriously. Jesus knew what his job was. In Luke 4:42,43 (NET) we read, “the next morning Jesus departed and went to a deserted place. Yet the crowds were seeking him, and they came to him and tried to keep him from leaving them. But Jesus said to them, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns too, for that is what I was sent to do.’”
We have an obligation to let people know that the kingdom of God is near. “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near.” Joel 2:1 (RSV)
I think that a big part of it is that we don’t know what sound the trumpet is to make. And when we do blow the trumpet, it is the trumpet of politics – or social change – or lifestyle, but not the gospel. We blow a trumpet with an uncertain sound.