by Randyl Meyer-LaMaack, Coordinator, Veritas Church
Sam* grew up in a pretty normal home in rural Iowa with two older brothers and two loving parents who instilled their Catholic religion into the boys from a young age. Sam was a good kid with good morals who stayed out of trouble. Growing up, he thought that is what made him a good Christian.
Sam was in 8th grade when his oldest brother, Alex*, went off to college at the University of Iowa. Sam was excited to see Alex when he made his first weekend trip home. He wanted to hear all about college life and Iowa football, but all Alex could talk about was Jesus. Sam quickly grew tired of hearing about The Salt Company and about the guys in his brother’s Connection Group. Sam was really annoyed and just wanted to have a “normal” conversation with his brother. A few years later, Matt*, Sam’s middle brother, left for college at the University of Iowa. Soon after, all Matt wanted to talk about was Jesus. Sam was even more bothered now, two brothers who wouldn’t stop talking about God was too much.
It was finally time for Sam to go to college, and, in keeping with family tradition, he chose the University of Iowa. His two older brothers were both still in Iowa City and he was excited to live close to them again. As school started up, he decided to try out The Salt Company and see what it was all about. His brothers wouldn’t stop talking about it, after all, and he needed to see for himself what the big deal was.
Sam’s heart slowly started to change as he heard the power of the gospel preached for the first time in his life. His eyes were opened as he witnessed college students passionately worship Jesus. Sam was quickly drawn into community, joining a Connection Group and attending Freshmen Group, where he saw people who were once dead come alive because of the redeeming work for Christ. Sam saw these people, his friends, living a life radically devoted to Jesus. He still wasn’t sure. With pride in his heart, he held fast to his morals and believed he was still a good person, but he just wasn’t ready to accept Jesus. He needed to figure it all out, first.
Then, one Thursday night at Salt, it clicked. The sermon focused on the story of the Prodigal’s Son. Sam had heard the story before, but tonight was different. Tonight, the story of the older brother, the good, moral and self-righteous brother, was told right alongside that of the younger, irresponsible brother. That brother needed the never-ending grace of Jesus just like the younger brother received. And Sam was overwhelmed with the realization of God’s love for him. His Heavenly Father loved him so much and there was nothing he could possibly do to change that. He realized that he couldn’t do anything to make God love him more and God promises that He will always love him no matter what. And Sam believed. Sam gave in, gave up his self-righteousness and gave his life to Jesus.
*Names have been changed for anonymity