A Very
Short Story
. . . with Long Lasting Implications

PAUL GLANCED at the clock's reflection in the bathroom mirror. The daily routine of shaving had long ago taught him how to read time backwards. It was 9:35 AM and he was running late. Tilting his face to delicately maneuver the sharp new razor across the left side of his chin, his mind wandered into a bizarre conversation . . .
   Good day, old chap. Your conscience here.
   Paul's lips formed a smile through the lather. 'Since when a British accent?' he thought.
   Oh, I suppose this is what one gets when you spend the night watching PBS instead of working on your taxes.
   'All right! Don't start me on a guilt trip; I'm running late.'
   Actually, it is precisely your hurried state that I want to address. Have you looked outside this morning?
   'Yes, and I know what you're scheming.'
   Well, you must admit, days such as these are few and far between. I hear the lakes are rather . . .
   'No, forget it! It's Sunday. I'm going to church.'
   But what on earth for?
   'I haven't been there in months and Easter's next week.'
   Then why not attend next week? Why, today it's warm enough to bring out the best among the female population.
   'If I go today then when I go on Easter Sunday, people won't think I only show up on Easter Sunday.'
   Yes, yes, I suppose image is everything. Of course, I wouldn't know being a mere voice in your head.
   Paul began working the right side of his chin.
   You missed a spot!
   'Forget it, I gotta get going. I'm late as it is.' Paul glanced once more at the clock.
   Oh, but won't you please reconsider? Church can be such a dreadful bore. There are all those pretentious smiles, the gossip, and the minister's endless liturgy that brings about the daydreaming. There's only so much basketball I can stand to ponder, you know.
   'But it's important to go to church.'
   Important? Oh, face it, my good man, you gain absolutely nothing from it.
   'How can you say that?'
   Oh, but I must! That is what a conscience does best. It reminds hypocrites like you of your inconsistencies.
   'Hypocrite? Hey, who's side are you on?'

   The inside, from whence I see you attend church, selectively I might add, only to sit there and habitually glance at your watch, hoping that your boring minister will somehow be called away on some emergency.
   'I never said he was boring.'
   Of course not. You wouldn't dream of admitting it to another soul. But I, on the other hand, know everything you think.
   'And I think you should shut-up!'
   Oh, but I'm not quite done. You then leave the services and don't give 'Your God' a second thought the other 167 hours of the week. Really; makes no sense for you to even attend. So I say we fill the cooler with beer and head for the lakes while it's still . . .
   'Hold on a second! Who's in charge here?'
   Well, I imagine God would be the one in charge, if you truly acted like He exists. But since He doesn't, let's get going. The sun-bathers are waiting!
   'Look! I'm going to church and that's . . . OUCH! Now look what you did? I cut myself.'
   Well, I must say, it hurt you more than it did me . . .

   Paul listened to the radio on the way to church in an effort to drown out his pesky conscience. Grabbing a back pew, no one seemed to notice when he finally wandered in. Ten minutes went by and then. . .
   Perhaps they can lighten things up if they serve tea and crumpets.
   'Not you again!'
   Oh, trust me, I tried to reserve myself but I was just too bored to even fall asleep. Incidentally, the minister has mentioned Heaven twice in his message. I didn't know you were planning on going there?
   'I hope to, someday.'
   Hope to? You mean your minister can't guarantee you a place in Heaven?
   'Of course not. No one can know for sure. Not even him.'
   But if even he doesn't know for sure, how can you trust your soul to what he teaches?
   'You ask too many questions.'
   One of us has to, and it certainly isn't you . . . Oh my, did you hear what he just said?
   'Now what?'
   He implied that God created you.

   Isn't he aware of the many of books adorning your shelf concerning evolution? Doesn't he know you came from an ape? Such a misinformed person is definitely not to be trusted concerning the way to Heaven.
   'Will you knock it off with this Heaven stuff? Maybe there is no Heaven!'
   Good, then let's leave. We still have time to get to the lakes . . .
   'No! Not until the service is over!'
   But what's the sense of staying? If there is no Heaven, there surely can't be a God, otherwise where would He live?
   'I dunno and I don't care! Just SHUT-UP, already.'
   But that's my point. If you don't know or care then what are we doing here?
   But why can't you answer these simple questions? I must say, your uncertainty in these matters is quite disturbing.
   'Okay, you want an answer? Here is it: I come here . . . just in case. Now go away!'
   Hah! And you think for a moment that, if you have the misfortune of finding yourself before God, these half-hearted attempts of yours will appease Him? Why, any God who would fall for your childish trick is no God at all . . .
   'All right, I warned you. I'm going to start thinking basketball!'
   Very well, if you put it that way, I shall promptly change the subject.
   I shall ponder upon the members of the opposite sex, who at this very moment are lakeside displaying the fruits of exer. . .
   'HEY, KNOCK IT OFF! We're in Church remember? You're being sacrilegious!'
   Sacrilegious, indeed! Why, what is so special about church? Do you think for a moment that an almighty God is confined to the walls of this building? Do you not suppose that He is aware of all your lustful meanderings that occur throughout the rest of the week? I was correct. You are a hypocrite, and if I had a full mind, I'd leave!
   'All right, you asked for it! I wonder what color Dennis Rodman is choosing next . . . I wonder if Magic Johnson will change his mind again . . . I wonder if . . .'
   Okay, okay, you win. I won't remind you of your phony, meaningless, going-through-the-motions, religious behavior again . . . until Christmas.
   'Why Christmas?'
   Because that's the next time you'll think about God again.

Dear Reader, is God real to you?   So real that you think about Him everyday?   Do you consider what He would say or think about every decision you make?   You should if God is truly the God of your life.   If not, the Bible teaches why God is less real to you than a stranger on the other side of the globe.

The Bible teaches that, "your iniquities [SINS] have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."   (Isa. 59:2)   "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Rom. 3:23).   And there is a price to pay for having sinned before God, and that price is death.   "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."   (Rom. 6:23)
"and without shedding of blood [DEATH] is no remission [FORGIVENESS]."   (Heb. 9:22)

Of course, this means that BAPTISM cannot pay for your sins since no one dies while getting baptized, nor can CONFIRMATION, COMMUNION, KEEPING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, CHURCH MEMBERSHIP, SELF-RIGHTEOUS, or GOOD DEEDS.   Anything other than death CANNOT and WILL NOT pay for any of your sins.   That's why:
"Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3).

He paid the price.   He died in our place and if we don't put our trust in His death to save us,
Jesus warned that: "ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he," (John 8:24).   And that means eternity in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15).   To claim what Christ has done on the cross for you, you must REPENT.   That means: change your mind, and agree with what you have just read from the Bible and place all your trust in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, to save you.   So "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [i.e. REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."   (Rom. 10:9)

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