I Once Met a Celebrity

by Mary

Here’s the truth …

“For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw His majestic splendor with our own eyes” (2 Peter 1:16).

I remember it like it was yesterday.  My family and I were in Pittsburgh and decided to stop at a Starbucks on our way home to get a coffee for the road.  We had about an hour and a half drive ahead of us, so the caffeine lured us there.  After seeing a packed drive-thru line, we decided to park and head inside.  As we approached the door, it opened, and none other than Erik Estrada stepped out, leaning against the door to hold it open for me!  He looked at me with eyebrows raised, just as he had looked into the camera for years on the television show, CHiPS, and won the hearts of women everywhere!  Instead of walking through the door, however, I stood there and stared at him, star struck!  Now, I realize that this “eighties chick” just dated myself and that I have lost many of you on the significance of that moment, but I was eye to eye with a person in the flesh whose face had appeared for years in my life on a TV screen every week! 

What he said to me was like a bucket of water being poured on my head:  “Comin’ or goin’, doll?”  Embarrassed, I snapped out of my stupor and walked inside, gushing that Erik Estrada just held the door open for me!  Of course, my excitement faded when I noticed the quizzical, what’s-the-big-deal look from the teenagers behind the counter who had no idea who had waltzed by them moments earlier.  “I guess he was famous once,” I heard them say.  Ahhhh, the eighties!

Since that experience, when I am spending too much time staring at a painting at an art museum or if my husband is behind me carrying many items in his hands but I choose to take my time, I hear the same question: “Comin’ or goin’, doll?”  Makes me giggle.  What an absolute joy to have had that experience!

Now, you might not believe me, but I suspect that you do, especially because I have no reason to make up a story like that.  In fact, since I have been on the receiving end of those words that Mr. Estrada said to me, I feel foolish, having taken up his time in such a silly, girlish stint of inward squealing; and I am setting myself up for embarrassment as I now give you the opportunity to say this to me when you see me and I am loitering somewhere too long.

But what is more shocking is that you would believe that story but not allow yourselves to believe the story that is the only story worth knowing.  Jesus died for you, and so many people subsequently risked their lives to tell the story of His birth, life, death, and resurrection.  They were willing to subject themselves to ridicule.  They lived like nomads, travelling from city to city without rooting themselves anywhere in order to get that story out there.  They saw the King of Kings firsthand. 

Peter, one of Jesus’s disciples, said, “For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes” (2 Peter 1:16). This is a guy who walked side by side with Jesus.  He was there when Jesus was raised from the dead.  He was willing to be martyred for what he knew he saw.  How many stories are you willing to die over because you believe them with all your heart? I love Erik Estrada, but if you were pointing a gun in my face, I would cave very easily and tell you that no such story happened, even though it certainly did!

So ask yourself, why are people so prone to believe my story of brushing elbows with Erik Estrada and not the story that really matters that Jesus was once dead but is alive.  He’s going to come back again to bring us Home to Heaven one day.  Talk about an awesome celebrity escort!  Why not trust in the greatest story ever told?

The next time you hear, “Comin’ or goin’,” I hope you will ask yourself where you are actually headed.  Your decision will last an eternity.

… and that’s the truth as I know it.