• Marty Sweeney
  • 1 January 2010
I am one of the few who doesn't regularly follow the worldwide hit show 24. My days are certainly not as action-packed as Jack Bauer's. But I know that Bauer's work isn't as important as what I've been involved in over the last 24 hours of my life. Here are just the climatic scenes:

1:20 pm EDT

The worker in the office next to ours stops by with a question about something stored in a shared space. Our office and hers are quite friendly with each other, so we chat a bit about normal things—plans for the weekend, how work is going, the weather, and so on. Through a quick series of rabbit trails, we wind up on the topic of religion: “My friend is married to a guy who goes to church all the time and thinks he is so much better than everyone else. But it's a joke. He treats her so badly. All Christians are just hypocrites.” Before I can answer, she's off on another trail that winds up at this endpoint: “Religion just causes evil any­way. Especially those who really take it seriously.” There is no Jack Bauer here—no hero to sweep in and put a stop to such talk. There is no made-for-YouTube comeback for these accusations. There is just plain old me, fumbling around with my thoughts and words. In God's mercy, my office friend acknowledges that I am the exception. (That is the beauty of seeing someone for total of an hour each month!) I have enough influence to make a few simple points. Later I am not sure how much difference they made or if she even took them seriously. I pray for God to work. But I do know that I owe quite a bit to So Many Questions (AUS | US), a training course on how to handle such situations, and a tract entitled Atheism is definitely wrong (AUS | US).

9:38 am EDT

Will returns my call from the night before. He needs some work, and I need some help painting rooms and cutting up fallen trees around my house. Before that, however, we talk about the latest chapter in his personal saga: what to do with his life. About a year ago, I sent him Guidance and the Voice of God (AUS | US). He told me he read it and found it very helpful. But that was a year ago … “I took 40 days this winter, and just petitioned God and sorted through my gifts. Nothing. I got nothing. I thought about being a labourer, a businessman, going into ministry. But I kept coming back to athletics. I should do something with athletics. But God hasn't opened up any doors. I'm not sure why if that's where he keeps driving me.” I really need some help around the house, so I wonder how much I should push him. (I told you I am no hero.) But not wanting to miss the opportunity, I bring up Guidance and the Voice of God and we go from there.

12:56 pm EDT

Robert is in his final year at university. He stops by for lunch and talks about his recent overseas mission trip: “What I experienced in India completely turned on end what I thought I knew about Christianity and myself. I don't really have anyone to ask about these things …” He told me about seeing poisonings, conversions, baptisms, darkness, possessions and at least five other things that would make for a great missionary biography. He ended with the main issue: “What I am saying is this: if I were to hit a tree and die on the way home, I am not sure if God would find me convicted enough to be worthy enough for heaven.” My Two Ways to Live antenna is immediately raised. The greatest impact Two Ways to Live had on me nine years ago was that it helped me understand sin and, subsequently, the basis of my acceptance before God. It was revolutionary. So Robert and I commenced Two Ways to Live, paying particular attention to boxes 2 (sin) and 4 (Jesus' death).   24 hours. Three conversations—conversations of immeasurable importance. In God's timing, he gave me the opportunity to bring his life-changing word to people in need. It was done in different ways. It took different forms. And I rarely quoted Bible verses. I am not in full-time, paid ministry. However, I can still testify that there is not one 24-hour period where I can skirt my responsibility as a missionary for Christ. There is no 24-hour period of my life where I can be caught off-guard. But I work alone for most of the day. How many more opportunities do people who work in larger offices have? How many conversations do mums standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other mums at ball practice have? How many times will a kid surprise their father with a question about God, the world or human nature? Without the help of these ministry tools, I wouldn't have had any idea of where to start. I'd be like Jack Bauer without a gun … or toothpick.