2018-07-05 / Editorial Page

Words of Encouragement

Most important question in life has nothing to do with whether a chair exists
By ROGER ALFORD columnist

The story is told about an eccentric philosophy professor who gave his students a rather bizarre final exam. He lifted a chair onto his desk and said: Using everything you’ve learned in this class, prove that this chair doesn’t exist.

Students started writing furiously, filling page after page with their best arguments. One fellow wrote 25 pages in an hour. But a young lady wrote for only for a couple seconds, turned in her paper, and walked out of the classroom.

The professor posted the grades a couple days later, and only one person had received an A. It was the young lady who so quickly finished the exam.

Her answer: What chair?

The Bible tells us we are to always be ready to give an answer to life’s most important questions, which, of course, are questions about eternity and how to prepare for it.

‘Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain the hope that is in you’ (1 Peter 3:15).

If you’re a Christian, I hope you live in such a way that people know you’re very different from folks who don’t know Christ. I hope you talk differently and behave differently. The Apostle Peter said we’re to be a ‘peculiar people’ so that others might recognize we have Christ in us. And, if we reflect Christ, we will have people come to us to ask why we remain perfectly calm in tense situations, why we face difficult circumstances with a calm assurance, why we can be cheerful when things are going wrong.

That provides us the opportunity to explain that the Lord has everything under control, that we don’t have to worry, that every situation is in his hands, and that we trust in Him that ‘all things work together for good for those who love God’ (Romans 8:28).

The world we’re living in sure seems unsteady at times. There are dangers all around us, and when the gravity of it all sinks in, questions about eternity are sure to arise in people’s minds.

If I may, let me challenge my Christian readers to live in such a way that people feel comfortable coming to you to ask the very important question about the hope you have inside you.

Of course, if they ask you to prove a chair doesn’t exist, you have that answer, too.

What chair?

Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at rogeralford1@gmail.com.

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