David and Daniel were best friends, had been for over thirty years, growing up just two houses apart, nearly every step since grade school had been taken together, very rarely were they apart. Of course there were the minor disputes, “I’m never playing with him again,” would within just a day or two become a forgotten phrase, and they would be riding their bikes together or searching for buried pirate treasure down by the river’s edge again. The same sports, the same job location after graduation, and although marriages and family became their prime interest, they still found time each week to enjoy time together, it was a good life, an expected life.
“Why in the world would you do that?” “I don’t know for sure, it was one of the kids that actually brought it up, and Jenny and I thought, why not, we want them to be as well rounded as possible. And to tell you the truth Dave, I kind of enjoyed it, it made me think of some things that have been going through my head lately.” “Well you might want to rethink all that, that Jesus stuff will rot your brain.” It was the first time that Daniel had felt a grudge against his longtime friend for more than a day or two for as long as he could remember. Normally he would let these things slide, as they always had, he had even forgiven his friend for stealing his girl back in high school, which actually turned out to be a good thing, but this felt different. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it yet, but it just didn’t seem right to talk about Jesus that way for some reason.
The feelings abated over the next year or so, probably because the conversation wasn’t brought up again, but the church attendance did not. He and his family felt more at home in the company of those who attended the church than at anyplace else they had ever been, and it wasn’t just on Sunday morning, when they met others from the church during the week they really seemed concerned with his family, the driving force behind their conversations was always Jesus. They always wanted to know how they could pray for them. But it wasn’t always just the nice and polite talk that he used to think, when he did think of them, of what he thought a Christian was, when they brought up some of the things he was doing that perhaps Jesus would frown upon, they did not hesitate in their words. They were tough words, but still were filled with love and care.
While two of their new friends held their small children, Dave and Jenny went to the front of the church to be baptized. The week before had found them both at the altar, tears flowing down their faces, hearts being broken and mended at the exact same moment. Not only the pastor, but several others from the congregation had stopped by their house that week, not to mention all the phone calls, they were not all just congratulatory though, they wanted to be sure. “This is going to change your entire lives Daniel, He is going to change not only the way you see yourself, but the way you will view the world. It is not a step to be taken lightly, you must be sure of your convictions, the price to follow Jesus Christ can sometimes be very high, but you must be willing to pay that price, no matter what He asks of you.”
The pastor’s words would not let him sleep that night, Daniel felt a responsibility unlike any other in his life, he was not even this nervous the night before his wedding, he was preparing to give up everything he knew, everyone he loved, to place everything in his life that he now had and ever would know in second place to Christ. A very determined man walked up to be baptized the next morning, a true and willing servant of Jesus Christ came up out of that water a few minutes later.
“You what? You have got to be kidding me, I thought all that church crap was just a bunch of nonsense to you, what the heck happened?” Daniel explained as best as he could the new found joy he was experiencing to his friend David, he did not fall into an emotional frenzy, he explained quite coherently how this decision had been made with much forethought and reasoning, over the next thirty minutes the man of God spoke to his longtime friend about his new best friend, and his great desire that David also would come to know Him as Lord. “Thirty minutes, in less than thirty minutes you just completely destroyed almost four decades of friendship. Let me tell you what you can do with your new Jesus buddy.”
Daniel thought back on that moment nearly ten years past now, he had never heard his lost friend curse so much, been so vehemently opposed to anything or anyone in his entire life. The newspaper report said he had died of an apparent suicide, his divorced wife and estranged children could not be reached for comment, the money he had embezzled had been located, at least what was left of it. The sadness was not for a lost friend that Daniel felt, but for another lost soul, one too many, far too many lost souls.
“Pastor, we’re ready whenever you are.” “I’ll be right there, just one more minute please.”