I first met Ron in a men’s study of the Purpose Driven Life that met at 6:30 a.m. Ron was not yet a follower of Jesus. He had difficulty understanding why anyone would get up that early in the morning to study a book you can’t understand with a group of men you did not know.
In the coming months, I watched Ron walk over the line of faith and be transformed by God’s grace. Ron is one of the most talented and creative individuals I have had the wonderful privilege of knowing. Owner of an ad agency, he plays keyboards, guitar, writes music, and the list could go on. In our small group, we can count on Ron to bring us laughter.
Shortly after he had become a follower of Jesus, Ron and I were having lunch and he said, “I’ve walked over that bridge (of faith) and I began moving forward, but I have now find myself stepping backwards. I’m at the edge of the bridge, but I’m not going back to the other side.” I asked, “What are you talking about?” In frustration, Ron replied, “Everyday some Christian comes into my office and leaves me another book about how to live the Christian life. I have a stack of books this tall! (He gestured with his hands a stack one foot tall.) Can you just boil this Christianity stuff down into a few principles? Having a Ph.D. from a seminary, I thought I was up to the task and I quickly answered, “Jesus taught the principles for life can be reduced to these two commandments, Love God, and love your neighbor. Do those two things, and you’ll be alright.” Ron then asked, “I think I know what it means to love my neighbor, but how do you love God?”
Isn’t that a great question? How do you love a person you can’t see or hear physically? How do you express and receive that love? What does it mean to love God? Has the church made the Christian walk too complicated?
I have found that many Christians know how to love God, but don’t know how to love their neighbors. Many secular people know how to love their neighbors, but don’t’ know how to love God. That is why you need those who are not yet followers of Jesus in your Bible studies. Maybe together we can learn how to love God and love our neighbors.
Ron recently did a video for Rockbridge Seminary. It shows what he can do with really bad talent. Imagine what he can do with really good material: http://www.rockbridgeseminary.org/message-from-the-president/.