When I heard that Living Waters Publications was offering The Golden Compass Gospel tracts for a penny a pack due to the movie of the same name bombing, I was so excited that I told my “connection” to get me $5.00 worth, or 5,000 tracts.
I called my faithful foot-soldier friend, “Righteous Richard” Chavarria, and asked him to drive on down to Ray Comfort’s headquarters in Bellflower and pick them up.
He dutifully did.
The workers at Living Waters Publications scratched their heads in wonder as they loaded 13 cases of tracts in the back of Richard’s truck.
“Can he really get rid of so many?” they asked.
It was Friday evening when we unpacked the 5,000 tracts. Richard and I steeled ourselves against the cold Southern California night air. It was the Hour of Power and we were prepared to hit the mall three days before Christmas. How would people respond to The Golden Compass tract, I wondered. And can we really get rid of 5,000 tracts before the movie completely fades away into oblivion?
We parked and scanned the lot for Security. None. “Richard, you take a hundred; I”ll take a hundred. Let’s see who can get rid of the Compass tracts the quickest.
FOR THE LORD AND FOR LIVING WATERS!!! we shouted.
It was 5:03PM.
At most events we focus on sharing our faith one-to-one, or by open air preaching, but there are times when thousands of people are gathered at a venue; on these occasions we try to hand out as many tracts as possible, broadcasting the Seed as wide as possible. That was the plan this evening.
At 5:17 we were all out. I beat Richard by 30 seconds. I’m boasting in the Lord. Really.
We went back to the car to grab 200 more each. These tracts are as easy as the million dollar bills, I thought. We had about 30 minutes left.
“FOR THE LORD AND FOR LIVING WATERS!!!”
We were off. Still no Security guards in sight. In and out of the stores we went, up the stairs, down the elevators, stopping just long enough to give an elevator sermon or two. Then it happened in Macy’s. I wasn’t expecting it. A salesgirl behind the counter wanted to talk!!! Didn’t she know I was in a race? A race to beat “Righteous Richard”?
I stopped. I witnessed to her. 7 minutes worth of witnessing. I mentally conceded the tract challenge. This was more important. It was 6 minutes into the conversation that I discovered that this woman—this tool of Satan—was a Christian, diabolically planted there to get me off my main goal of whupping Richard’s butt. “Richard!” I shouted desperately, oblivious to the Christmas shoppers milling around beside and behind me. “Where are you?”
“Here I am!” he answered.
“How many tracts do you have left?” I asked.
“About 50. How about you?”
I was off into the shoe store, record stores, outside the elevators, inside the food courts, the video stores… For the Lord and for Living Waters; For the Lord and for Living Waters… I never glanced back, I kept my head down and worked, worked… each tract a soul, each tract a soul…
5… 4… 3… 2… 1! Done! None left. All gone.
I wondered if Richard was all out of tracts yet.
Wiping sweat from my brow I glanced up to see Richard’s smiling, gloating face. He was holding his hand high in the air, like Ali, like Woods, victorious and proud, like, like… wait. What was that in his hand? Is that…? It was! A Golden Compass tract! I raised my hands high for Richard to see clearly that I had… no tracts left… zero!
After the crushing defeat, Richard confessed that he thought he had the game in the bag when he saw me witnessing to the counter lady. He took it slow. He took it easy. He lost his edge.
We both ageed that getting rid of 5,000 Golden Compass tracts would be a breeze. Thousands of people would have an opportunity to read the Gospel on these tracts; some might even get saved.
And indeed 5,000 tracts would be easy to get rid of, if indeed we had 5,000. I called Richard the next day; something was bothering me. “Richard, how many boxes of tracts did you get from Living Waters?”
“And how many are in each box?”
“Let me go to my truck and check.” A few moments later he returned with the shocking news: “3800 tracts to a box. And they threw in a few extra packs on top.”
“Richard… we don’t have 5,000 tracts…
…we have 50,000 tracts!”
The challenge had just begun…
(Part 2 on Friday)