A few weeks ago, while walking in the parking lot at Wal-Mart, my daughters and I found two five dollar bills on the ground. My first thought was, “Nice, free money!” My second thought was, “Wait a second, this might be a Christian trick.”
That’s a weird thing to think when you find money on the ground, but before I picked it up, I tried to see from a distance if the money was real or not. My fear was that I would get my hopes up, grab it and then realize it was a salvation tract disguised as money.
That happened to me once and even as a Christian, I found it kind of traumatizing. And it’s not that I hate tracts. I think tracts can be a good thing. I don’t like that sometimes people, myself included, beat them up like some sort of Christian piñata, making fun of the people that hand them out. I think for some people, handing out tracts is an honest expression of worship. The truth is that there are probably people reading this site today that could easily say, “Someone giving me a tract on the street really meant a lot to me.”
But is there anyone that picks up what appears to be a ten dollar bill, flips it over, finds out it’s actually a message about the Bible and says, “Phew, I thought this was free money for a second. Let’s see what this John 3:16 is all about instead?”
I doubt it. The first reaction is probably anger. Followed by embarrassment for falling for a trick. Followed by throwing the tract away or bringing it home to show all your friends and family members how mean Christians are.
There are really only two ways to fix this problem. We can either stop creating tracts that are disguised as money or we can create an even worse tract so that when people do get the fake money tract they can at least say, “Wow, I don’t like this fake money but at least it’s not as bad as that other tract I hear is going around.”
I would like to pretend that this blog is powerful enough to make number one happen but let’s be honest, it isn’t. So instead, I think we should lean into option number two as hard as we can.
What would be worse than fake money? I thought long and hard about this because there’s already a fake parking ticket tract going around. Abraham Piper wrote about that a few months ago. After much consideration and a desire to be topical and relevant, I decided that the worse tract we could create right now is a fake pink slip. With as many layoffs happening and as many people finding their jobs “eliminated” or my favorite new term, “sunsetted,” I think a little tract that looks like you’re getting fired would be most horrible.
Imagine you come back from lunch and there’s a note on your keyboard. It’s pink, it’s official looking and across the top in a font that looks all serious it says, “Please pack your things and leave the keys to your desk in one of the drawers.” You open it up and inside it says …..I’m not sure.
That’s the challenge with writing a bad tract, you have to make a wild segue from “you’re fired” to “here’s Jesus.” Here are a few headlines I think we could use on our fake pink slip tract:
1. “You might not have been fired, but speaking of fire, imagine how hot hell might be.”
2. “You might still have a job, but did you know your real job is to worship the Lord?”
3. “Your job wasn’t eliminated, but you know that fear in your heart that you just felt when you thought it was? God wants to eliminate that.”
4. “Want a job you can never lose? Become a follower of Christ.”
5. “Who knows when you’ll get fired, but today you could be hired … for the Lord’s army that is.”
6. “Want to work for a Jewish carpenter?”
Those are horrible, but unfortunately not far off from what happens sometimes. Let’s stop trying to trick people into Jesus. I would love everyone that reads this blog to become a Christian and know the insane life transforming joy that I sincerely believe a relationship with Christ offers, but I have to trust that God is big and beautiful and powerful enough not to need me to help Him out by tricking people into His arms.