the Bible Guy

Joanie Butman


As summer fades into fall, I’m eager to resume daily routines that get neglected June through September. Exercise and healthy eating are the most obvious, as my seasonal blueberry pie and lobsta diet has taken its toll. My cravings these days are not for rich foods but for the sweet, nourishing Christian fellowship I enjoy back home. As close as I feel to God by the ocean, camaraderie with other Christians is the one ingredient my Peace of the Rock lacks – or so I thought.


This year I discovered precious morsels of Christian fellowship that God sprinkled along my path, whether it was a litany of bumper stickers while driving, a message on the hand dryer at a rest stop, or a visit with my sweet, elderly neighbor who lives out her faith so beautifully.

The most pleasant surprise was meeting “The Bible Guy.” Wendell arrived in the most unexpected manner. We were doing some home improvements and hired an electrician to update the antiquated wiring in my in-laws’ cottage. Little did I know I was going to get a different kind of home improvement and new wiring. Wendell began work while I busied myself with another project in the next room. I quickly realized I wasn’t going to get much accomplished. Instead, I was about to receive a much-needed bible lesson.


As this was the first time I’d met him, I was a little surprised at how boldly he shared his faith. He was a wealth of wisdom and experience and certainly not short on words. Cynic that I am, though, I kept checking the clock calculating my per hour cost for his biblical tutelage!!! Eventually, I surrendered my own agenda for the day, realizing that God had other plans for me. True to form, when I surrender to His will, it’s always an adventure. By the end of the day, I found myself at Wendell’s house giving him advice on paint colors and admiring his koi pond while continuing our conversation.


After a number of these encounters, I wondered how his other clients react to his spiritual tutorials. Was there something I said that indicated I needed a fresh infusion of spiritual wisdom? Come to think of it, who doesn’t? The odd thing was that Wendell chose one of the most difficult scriptures for the modern woman to swallow. It’s about wives submitting to their husbands – not your typical opener with a new acquaintance and definitely not a wise conversion strategy. It was effective in piquing my interest though. I was curious to hear his perspective on Ephesians 5:22-33, and he didn’t disappoint. I now have a new understanding and appreciation for that passage.


Curious, I asked Wendell if he was always so candid about sharing his faith. He replied, “No not always so openly, but always ready. This is my vocation, and to encourage others to know Jesus is my avocation. He is the best news of the day! I'm known as the Bible Guy with the other guys around town.”


Free Dictionary defines avocation as a “hobby. Something you do when you’re not working.” Spiritually, hobby sounds too frivolous in nature because sharing God’s love is something we live regardless of what we do. There’s nothing secondary about it. Witnessing for Christ is more than doing photography or woodworking (though He was a carpenter). Sharing one’s testimony is part of our job description. As Rick Warren describes in a devotion I received shortly after I met my new spiritual advisor, “This is how God wants you to do your job: Go quickly into every part of the world, tell people about God’s invitation to salvation, invite them into the family of God, and do it with urgency. If you’re in the family of God, that’s your job description for the rest of your life while you’re here on earth.” I forwarded to Wendell with thanks for taking his ‘job’ so seriously.


As Christians, we’re all called to participate in Christ’s Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations (Mat 28:16-20). But how many of us actually heed this call to action literally like Wendell? In our uber politically-correct society, it’s more common to adopt a more quiet, reserved faith in fear of offending someone. It was refreshing to meet someone who was eager to share their faith and felt no need to apologize for it. Sharing our love for Jesus doesn’t have to be wordy. In fact, more often it doesn’t require words at all because how you live speaks volumes.


Don’t think I missed the irony of God employing an electrician to satisfy my longing to ‘plug’ into some Christian fellowship. In hindsight, my decision to go with the flow and listen to what God had to teach me through Wendell was well worth the hourly cost. In fact, I got double the value, having been updated electrically and spiritually. What a deal!! As I head home today, I am recharged – choosing to make Christ an avocation, not a “hobby.”