Did you hear about the blundering bank robber? He wrote his message on a withdraw slip, signed it Bank Robber, and gave it to a teller. The teller (get this) could not read his writing. She thought his name was Bank Robert and tried to find an account by that name. By the time another bank employee deciphered the scrawl, the robber had second thoughts and fled.
His next stop was a convenience store. He told the clerk he was armed and to clean out the till. The clerk conferred with another employee and decided to call the manager to see if they should do it. Blundering Bank Robber split again, this time taking a few groceries with him.
Fifteen minutes later, he entered another bank. (This guy gets an A for persistence!) He handed a carefully written note to a teller and finally achieved his goal, escaping with an undisclosed amount of money.
The story reminded me of a dog we once owned. Every time she tried to chase a cat, the cat just sat and looked at her, even yawned. The dog was a soft-mouthed retriever who instinctively would not bite into a living creature — thus cats never took her seriously.
While the goal of the dog and the bank robber is not particularly virtuous, there are lessons to be learned from these stories, especially for those who follow Jesus Christ, tell others the gospel and are puzzled if no one takes their message seriously.
IMPROVE OUR APPROACH - If we are blundering continually, perhaps we need to check our style. We might just need instruction. So find someone who knows more and learn. While we are at it, make sure there is not ‘something about our life that doesn’t match the good news that we want to share. Should there be, clean it up. We don’t want this response: “I’d like to believe you but what you are speaks louder than what you say.”
MAKE IT CLEAR - Whatever we say needs to be plainly said, especially the good news about Jesus Christ. While clarity isn’t all that is needed, a mixed up or muddied gospel presentation will turn most people away, perhaps to some philosophy that makes better sense.
PERSIST - Most of us give up too easily. It might help to recall our own experience with God. Didn’t He persist, in spite of our initial failures to grasp the truth? And aren’t we glad that He didn’t give up?
PUT SOME BITE INTO IT - Too often we present Christianity as “a way” and our message as only one choice among many. Jesus didn’t do that. He claimed to be “the way” and said “No man can come to the Father but by Me.” He also said that the alternative for rejecting Him and the gospel was condemnation and that those who refused Him would “die in their sins.”
Even when Christians get their act together, people may still say no. That is their decision. But far better they say “no” to a clear message than “no” to a foggy, fumbling presentation given by someone whose life is in utter contradiction to it and who blocks the image of Christ that ought to be reflected.
My dog never could chase cats. She eventually gave up. But Bank Robber finally achieved his goal. He kept at it. We need to keep at it too (but not robbing banks).
There are people who yearn for assurance of spending eternity with God, hear the message, and yet cannot seem to grasp what we say. Sometimes people- fail to take us seriously. That should be incentive for change - a stimulus to take a look at ourselves and deal with our shortcomings. Then we can go on with renewed conviction that this message we have is indeed life changing — and worth consistent and persistent telling and retelling!