Cigarettes, Jesus, and me
I know Paul smoked cigarettes because when the jailer in Acts 16:29 was rocked by an earthquake he asked Paul for a light (KJV). I always thought it was an odd time to light up, but people react to tragedy in different ways. To each his own, I always say.
Okay, that was a bad joke. I’m feeling a bit punchy today, but let me ask you a question. What do you think about cigarettes and smoking? Is it wrong? What about a pipe or a cigar? Is it a sin or a matter of personal preference if someone wants to light up?
This reminds me of one of the more embarrassing moments in my life. It was around 1988 when I met a young man who was at the end of his rope. Life was not turning out for him the way he had hoped. He had relational problems, drug problems, employment problems, and financial problems.
He had tattoos and tattered clothes. He had long, disheveled hair. He lived in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. He worked when he could find a job and he had few friends. He also smoked cigarettes.
Most of his problems were easy to see. The dysfunction in his heart wasn’t that hard to figure out either, especially with a few tried and true evangelistic type questions. It quickly became obvious he not only needed a friend, but he needed a Savior.
At first I was not sure if he was interested in what I had to say or if he was just another lonely dude. Regardless, we hit it off and made friends quickly. I’m sure my religion was curious to him and he was not offended by my approach.
He was open to hearing about Jesus and even accepted my invitation to attend a Sunday evening church meeting with me. Because he did not have a license or a car, I offered to pick him up to bring to our service.
Jesus, me, and a plume of cigarette smoke
On the way to the meeting he asked me if he could smoke a cigarette. You have to put his query in context: I had just purchased a brand, spanking, new Buick LeSabre. It was the LORD’s car and the only smoke the LORD approved was holy and I was pretty confident my new friend was