Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 15, 1999

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / December 15, 1999

In 1985, I attended a two-week intensive sales course presented by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. The material covered was everythingyou needed to know about the product (insurance) and the successful method to sell the product. After two weeks of 12-hour days that includedstudying, homework, group discussion and some great lectures, the final hour of the final day stressed this message – Keep it simple. Don’tcomplicate and confuse the prospect.

Last week, I thought about that message after reading about simple faith in Chuck Swindoll’s book titled, “The Finishing Touch.” He told how Jesuswas the master communicator. Children and adults alike had no problemunderstanding His words and getting the message. That was remarkable,because while He was on earth, He lived in a society that was accustomed to religious double-talk. In reality, it was not any different from what wehave today.

It’s been 2,000 years since Jesus walked this earth as a man. Today, notmuch has changed. Society is still complicating the simple faith message.Man-made systems of complicated requirements and back-breaking demands have kept people in bondage. Gimmicks to attract people to Jesushave not worked and will never work. Jesus never deceived people intolistening to His simple message. People were attracted by His Spirit.Today, we use God and any popular entertainment to impress the world that we are evangelizing. One of the most popular world activities isathletics. I personally enjoy athletics. I attend many sporting events. Tosay that I’m going to evangelize the people would be a lie. I go for onepurpose – to be entertained. I enjoy good, clean amateur competition.The players are participating because they love sports. For them to saythat they are playing to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be hypocrisy. It’s the same as if I said that my attendance is good for myspiritual growth. The bottom line is that neither the players, nor the fans,are promoting Christianity.

What prompted me to write this article? That’s a good question. Theanswer is because of the state championship game at the Superdome this past weekend. Evangel, the Class 5A state champions, won their 60thconsecutive game. The school has an enrollment of less than 450 students.They claim to use football to evangelize. Is it a miracle that they’ve hadso much success on the football field? I don’t think so. It took muchplanning, good coaching, good players and, evidently, great recruiting.

Recruiting players to spread the Word of God? No, the purpose is to have a successful football program. Evangel has succeeded.Getting back to simple faith. Jesus never used athletic teams, gimmicksor condemnation. In fact, the Bible says that the Word of God is sharperthan any two-edged sword. It never mentions anything else. Maybe weshould learn from the greatest teacher that ever lived. Let’s keep Hismessage simple and not confuse people who are searching for the Truth.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur

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