Friday, November 5, 2010

Chris Thomas King And The Gospel

I will never forget the opportunity that I had to share the gospel with Chris Thomas King. But maybe for a different reason than you might guess...

Most people will probably know King from his roles in "O Brother, Where art Thou?" and "Ray." In the first, he played Tommy Johnson, a young man who sold his soul to the devil in order to play some amazing guitar. His deal leads to the opp to play for the likes of George Clooney (of course, not George in the movie).

Anyways, my brother and I had the opportunity to meet King after a concert in Raleigh, NC. He played a multi-talent show showcasing the music from the film "O Brother." The same night, I met Ralph Stanley, Ricky Skaggs, and multiple others. I had the same conversation with them all...the gospel. But, the conversation I shared with King, which lasted for over thirty minutes, resulted in one of my most memorable gospel-sharing encounters. The reason it is memorable for me has nothing to do with King's notoriety or fame as a musician, actor, producer, etc. Instead, it was the conversation I had after King walked away that made the night so memorable.

After speaking with King and sharing the gospel from my pocket New Testament, a man named Dan Tyminski walked up. He asked, "What are you guys doing out here?" My brother and I with the exception of a few other people were the only people outside. "What are you guys doing out here?" I replied, "Just sharing the gospel." I had been starting the conversation off with everyone by asking them if they had a favorite verse in the Bible. Nothing is wrong with giving John 3:16 as an answer, but I had heard that one a few times already that night. Instead, Dan replied, "Second Peter, chapter one." I remember asking, "The whole chapter?" So, he went back to his first question and said something similar to, "So, you guys are out here sharing the gospel. Who have you talked to?" I told him that we just got done takling to Chris Thomas King. I shared Chris' responses to the gospel and the views about life and eternity which he believed in. Something changed in Dan. I could see his face soften. I could see his attention wander a little. I continued sharing some more about our conversation with Chris, but when I realized that something was obviously on Dan's mind, I asked, "What's wrong?" His response has been something I can never forget. He said, softly and quietly, with a little hesitation similar to a child preparing to admit to doing something wrong:

 "You know, I have been riding around with Chris for a bunch of months. I haven't talked to him about it one time."

I could feel the guilt that Dan was communicating from the sound of his voice, the change in his demeanor. And, you know what he said to us? "I've got to talk to him." Whether he left that very moment and went to Chris' bus to talk to him, I don't know. But, I had the feeling that he was heading there, and his response has always led me to imagine it was perhaps that very night.

God often uses this memory to remind me not to ride around with people, work with people, live next to people, without sharing the gospel. Sometimes, I remember that night and my demeanor changes, my voice softens, and I respond, "I have to go talk to him."

I've often prayed for Chris Thomas King...that he would believe that all of his sins were taken upon Jesus Christ, and that Jesus Christ paid the price for all of them. I've often prayed that he would see the great substitution and the great exchange, namely that, even while we were yet sinners, Jesus Christ died in our place and that, while our sins were taken upon Christ and the wrath due us was absorbed by him, we receive the righteousness of Christ. John 3:16 really is a great verse, a favorite for many (as it should be): "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life." That's true for Dan, that's true for me, and it is true for Chris.

Dan, Chris, if you ever see this, I would love to catch up. Drop me a line some time. Sincerely, Thomas.

1 comment:

  1. What a great reminder – if we really are putting Christ first in our lives, He will be first in our relationships no matter how brief they might be!

    Can we actually “Put” Christ first or does He become first only when we die to self?

    Christianity is radical!