As much as I love going to the beach there's nothing like 'home sweet home'.
We had a great time Boogie Boarding, playing in the sand, playing in the pool, smoking cigars (wait, that was just me), walking on the beach, watching a Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Atlanta Braves Single A team) game, doing nothing and, for the first time ever, metal detecting (wait, that was just me again).
My wife gave me a metal detector last year for Christmas and I couldn't wait until we went to the beach to try it out in the sand. I have played around with it a little bit over the past few months getting used to the feel and sound of the thing and found a couple coins and a kids action figure but mostly nothing but garbage.
But at the beach, one has the hope of finding that century old coin or some poor bride's lost diamond ring or maybe a cool watch...anything but trash.
So I set off the first evening with detector in one hand, implement of destruction in the other and headphones on my ears in hopes of cashing in big on other peoples misfortune.
Oh yeah, one other item I had on me was a few Million Dollar Bill Gospel tracts.
The one thing I read over and over from metal detecting sites and publications was to be prepared for people to come up to you and ask you if you have found anything yet. This, according to the publications, was a good time for you to introduce people to the joys of metal detecting.
I had a different idea; introduce them to Law and Gospel.
I'll be honest, sometimes I struggle with 'the right time and the right place' to witness with people. It's one thing to hand out Gospel tracts while people are on the move and going to and fro, but I find that there are some venues where people are less likely to have that one on one conversation with you.
So I thought if people are going to go out of their way and stop me on the beach and engage me in conversation, then I have the perfect opportunity to turn the conversation around and not only get a Gospel tract in their hand, but ask them a few questions concerning the things of God.
So I did.
The first night I went by myself and handed out a few tracts and talked briefly with those who stopped me.
The second night my wife and kids came with me and walked the beach while I scoured the beach for lost possessions. My wife brought the camera to capture some family moments and I told her if someone stops me tonight make sure you get a photo or two of the witnessing encounter.
That was the night I met Mickey.
Mickey walked straight up to me and ask me if I had found any treasure yet. I told him I had found a lot of beer bottle tops and pull rings but nothing that made my evening of detecting worthwhile yet. The I told him that I did have something that might make his night worthwhile; a Million Dollar Bill.
He took the MDB with joyful fascination.
I told Mickey that there was a Gospel tract on the back and then asked him the million dollar question; if you were to die tonight, where would you spend eternity?
Mickey told me that he was sure he was going to Heaven when he died. I asked him how he knew that. He told me that he came to know about God through AA. I asked him what he meant when he said know about God. He gave me his personal testimony from his alcohol years to going through the AA steps and then finding God along the way. When Mickey told me he was a local in the area, I asked him which church he attended. He told me that he sometimes went to a particular church along the strip.
I immediately took him through the Law to make sure he understood the seriousness of his sins in light of a holy and just God. I reasoned with him on the penalty of those sins in light of God's perfect justice and then I magnified God's amazing grace through the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
I made sure Mickey knew what repentance was and explained why he needed to fully trust in Jesus to save him from God's wrath on the Day of wrath like his life depended on it; because it does.
I went through all this even though Mickey said he was a Christian. Why? Because I had a sense that Mickey was relying on something other than the blood of Christ.
I had a good long chat with Mickey and I hope to run into him again someday when we come back to the beach. I pray that Mickey indeed is a Christian and, if not, the Holy Spirit moves him to repenting and putting his faith in Christ alone.
By the way, I never did find any rings or watches or century old coins but I did find almost $5 dollars in change and that, if you're willing, God will use you no matter where you are are.