August 21, 2007
Today I received an e-mail from a listener.
This, in and of itself, isn’t unusual. There are plenty of things that might prompt a listener to send an e-mail. Sometimes they write because of something they heard me say. Often, these emails are neither gentle nor genteel. Some are downright nasty.
I like to think that most of these e-mails are sent by people who merely misheard, or perhaps misunderstood what I said. Unfortunately, quite often, a disgruntled listener has heard correctly—they understand perfectly and they disagree vehemently with what I’ve said.
It might seem strange, but these are some of my favorite e-mails. Anyone who listens to my radio show knows that dissenting callers go to the front of the line. An “Amen, Brother” might be encouraging in the short run, but in the long run, dissenters offer a bounty of opportunity. Disagreement provides the chance for at least three potential outcomes: the chance to teach, the chance to learn and the chance to learn to continue to disagree without being disagreeable.
The e-mail I received today was in a different category. It goes to the very heart of why I do what I do ... and what I hope for every day. Here is a portion of that e-mail:
Thanks to you, I was saved 10 years ago. In the spring of 1997 a voice told me to turn on a Christian radio station as I drove down I-30 one afternoon. Either I was insane or God was trying to get through to me. I opted for the second choice and started tuning the radio. I stumbled on The WORD. (I found out later that you had only been on the air about a week.)
I enjoyed listening to you because you were non-threatening. You didn’t preach at me. You talked about current events. You mixed biblical principles into whatever you were talking about. You made me start thinking. God was working on me. After awhile I started listening in the mornings too. These were preachers, but I was ready to start listening to them. One morning in almost the exact same place on I-30, (I heard on the radio) that I should pray this prayer if I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. I DID!
Since then my husband and I have found a great church and our boys are saved. I don’t drive to Dallas everyday anymore, but I still listen whenever I can. I’d rather listen to The WORD than any other radio station. I tried to keep my story brief; I hope it made sense.
Thank you for helping me to find the Lord!
As natural as it might be to feel puffed up after receiving an e-mail like that, to me it was just a reminder that God can hit “straight licks with crooked sticks.” It was a reminder that God can use anyone ... even me ... even when I don’t know it ... even when I’m brand new in a job ... to work His will and His ways. Incredible.
While I was going about my business, He was touching a heart ... changing a life ... and a family ... for eternity. And I wouldn’t know about it for 10 years.
As my dad used to say sometimes to me, “That just made my day.”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about whether our “Christian worldview” has become our “Christian world” view. Too often we go from our Christian churches to our Christian Bible studies ... we take our Christian kids to their Christian schools with other Christian kids. It’s hard to have an impact on a world you’d just as soon not even encounter.
Back to my e-mail. It’s true, I was broadcasting on a Christian radio station, but look deeper into what she said: I enjoyed listening to you because you were non-threatening. You didn’t preach at me. You talked about current events. You mixed biblical principles into whatever you were talking about. You made me start thinking.
I hope that means that she knew God was important to me. I hope it means that she knew that I wasn’t about to compromise my beliefs. I think she also sensed that she was important to me and that those beliefs weren’t just one narrow part of my life; they were the filter through which I viewed the world around me. Something she heard from me (and, believe me, no one is more surprised about this than I) was attractive to her. She wanted to know more.
I don’t want to have a Sunday faith. I want to have a faith that informs every aspect of my life every day of the week. I want it to be something that sets me apart, at least in terms of how others see me. I want that faith to remind me that my “Christian worldview” should never be just a “Christian world” view. I think this is what it means to be salt and light.
Perhaps it means nothing more than being a real Christian in the real world.
Scott Wilder is host of “The Scott Wilder Show,” recognized by the National Religious Broadcasters as Talk Show Host of the Year in 2004. His program is heard weekday afternoons in Dallas/Ft. Worth on The WORD 100.7fm. Contact Scott at [email protected]