To celebrate their anniversary, Baskin-Robbins had a special night this week where you could get a scoop of their ice cream for just 31cents. That’s about 1/7 of the normal cost, so it was a great deal.
Think of it-a scoop of pralines-n-cream or chocolate chip cookie dough or raspberry or whatever your favorite flavor might be, for only 31 cents. I heard there was a limit of 10 scoops per person. So it was a great (cheap) date for college students, a great (cheap) spring evening outing for families with young children, or a great (cheap) way to get your fill of ice cream.
So, after I got home from church, Paula and I got in the car and drove the couple of blocks to our local Baskin-Robbins. What greeted us was a truly astonishing sight. The parking lot was full to overflowing, with more cars pouring in by the minute. People were walking across the lot as far as they would walk if it was the week before Christmas at the mall.
The fairly small store was packed-and the line stretched out the door, down the sidewalk, around the bend into the shadows of the closed specialty grocery store next door. There were old young and old, boomers and busters, married couples and singles, pierced and plain-all standing in a line in the dark for a scoop of ice cream.
Why did 31 cent night at BR work so well? It’s pretty simple: a good product was made easily accessible for a broad range of people.
That got me thinking. The gospel of Jesus is the sweetest reality any soul will ever taste, the most awesome truth any heart will ever encounter, the best news any one will ever hear, the most beautiful thing anyone will ever see.
Nothing compares with the combination of love, mercy, forgiveness, grace, hope, joy, truth, freedom, healing, wholeness, newness and life found in Jesus.
So, how do we make that gospel easily accessible to a broad range of people in our community? Oh, I know that we have bunches of churches-we are on the edge of the Bible Belt, after all. Those churches have worship services for every taste, teaching and training and programs for every person’s unique lifestage needs. We have Christian radio, Christian television, Christian movies, Christian bookstores, Christian T-shirts, Christian-based programs for weight-loss, marriage enrichment, financial planning and a dozens more Christian things.
But somehow, in the midst of all of that, a whole bunch of people are missing the gospel. Old and young, boomers and busters, married couples and singles, pierced and plain-all drive right past our churches every Sunday morning, if they’re out of bed. They are missing the wonder of a gospel that rescues, redeems, and transforms their life and eternal destiny. As a matter of fact, I suspect it never crosses their mind. People just don’t seem to line up outside our doors for a taste of what they see we have.
Tough question #1: Why not?
Tough question #2: How do we help the people we’re in the middle of realize that what they hunger for will only be satisfied by the sweetness of Jesus and His gospel?
Tough question #3: What are we willing to adjust (not just for one night, but for always) to reach those precious people and help them “taste and see that the Lord is good”?
Yes, I know there’s only one version of the gospel, and that it never changes. But the diverse population of people around us needs a bunch of Christians willing to creatively think, dream, plan and adjust ourselves-so they can come near to Jesus-and know all His glorious flavor.