Saturday, December 7, 2013

Running, Beer, and Fellowship


Today I ran in the Savannah River Bridge Run. It was my first race in several years and I'm pleased with how I did (finished the 5K in 26-27 minutes and didn't collapse). My employer (JCB) was kind enough to pay the registration fee and provide T-shirts (see photo above). About ten of us from JCB ran in the race. Some posed for the above photo. That's me on the far right looking like a giant; everyone else is actually short.

As a bonus, several of the runners wore silly costumes. I saw Elvis Presley before the race. Near the end of the race I ran past a guy dressed as an elf; shortly after this a Gene Simmons impersonator ran past me. He was dressed in full KISS gear and was even carrying an American flag.

After the race our JCB team hung out for a while in the finishing area. There was music, food, soda, and beer. Everyone else in the group grabbed a beer. So did I. Not only did I grab it, I also drank the whole thing. My purpose in this was not for the taste (it was actually a sort of gross light beer). Rather, I wanted to spend time with some co-workers and do what they were doing. If I hadn't had a beer things would have been awkward. By having a drink with them, we were all able to just stand around and fellowship for a while. I hardly knew any of them prior to the race. It was a great opportunity to start some relationships.

Just a few years ago I probably would not have had a beer. I would have viewed my not drinking as some sort of righteous stand for Christ. What a bunch of poppycock. Part of the reason some non-Christians are turned off to Christianity is because some Christians just act so weird. Let me make this clear: there is nothing wrong with Christians drinking alcohol. The sin comes when drunkenness begins.

As followers of Jesus, we need to do whatever it takes to build relationships. It is often through these relationships that people are willing to hear about Jesus Christ in a meaningful way for the first time. I'm not suggesting that relationships are a means to an end; they are an end in themselves. However, they also offer tremendous opportunity for sharing about Christ.

So, I ran a race, drank a beer, and had some nice fellowship. It made for a good morning.

6 comments:

Lifefullyloaded said...

We would have done the same thing a few years ago and now will drink a beer. It's refreshing to love Christ and live life abundantly. Nice post.

Eric said...

Jamie,

I agree about freedom in Christ!

Greg Hetrick said...

I agree that christians can drink a beer or cup of wine. I sometimes decline around non-believer's and believer's but not not because I feel weird or awkward. You said you drank due to the awkwardness... Not drinking is also a witness, by just not participating. My question for you is why drink out of awkwardness instead of following your heart. I'm not attacking you, I'm just wondering why you feel you need to drink to be a witness? You can still witness to your friend's without drinking! It's an open door for you when someone asks you "why aren't you drinking?'

Greg

Steve Scott said...

I remember during a time I went to a prohibitionist church that not only would I not have had that beer, I wouldn't even have gone to the event in the first place. Keeping one's self holy takes lots and lots of work.

Eric said...

Greg,

Good questions. The reality is that I wanted to drink the beer, so I did. However, it also allowed me to stand around with my new friends and simply develop relationships. If I had declined to drink, then immediately the issue would have come to the forefront. I can no longer say that I don't drink because of Christ. He doesn't prohibit drinking. I would have had to say something like, "I'm not drinking because many Christians think it's wrong to drink." There would have been no point in that. As I go forward I hope to have opportunities to share Christ with these coworkers and serve them at the same time.

Eric said...

Steve,

I'm glad you are no longer a part of that church. There's too much joy in Christ for that sort of legalism.