The Kid With Giant Ears and a Snake Around His Neck

I’ll admit, I had to resist the temptation to do a double take when I first saw him.

This past Sunday night, my daughter Ella and I were taking a walk before dinner. Ella is getting teeth right now, which means that she is in constant rampage mode, and I needed to get her out of the house so that Jen could make dinner.

As we were walking, I saw three young guys headed toward us. Two of the guys looked relatively normal, but the third one caught my attention right away. He had huge, white discs, easily the width of a tea cup, jammed into holes in his ears. The only other people I’ve seen with their ears gauged that large are Amazon or African tribesman. It was a weird look.

He also was covered in tattoos and his face had various bits of metal sticking out of it. But here was the kicker: he had a live snake wrapped around his neck.

When I walked past him, my first thought was, “Now there’s a person trying to get attention, and I’m not going to give it to him.” Yeah, I know. Call me “Captain Kindness and Charitable Judgment”.

Immediately after passing the trio, my next thought was, “I should have invited those guys to church!” The first thought was from my judgmental heart. The second thought was from the Holy Spirit, who loves sinners. So I said a quick prayer, asking God to let me pass by those guys again so that I could invite them to church.

Now you need to understand something about me. When it comes to the whole boldness in evangelism thing, I stink. I really struggle with the fear of man. Some people can go into Starbuck’s, start talking to the barista (technical term meaning “one who pours coffee), and the next thing you know, the barista is saying the sinner’s prayer. That’s not me. So it was a clearly God working in me that I would want to invite these guys to church.

And wouldn’t you know it, five minutes later I saw the snake handling trio rounding the block about twenty yards in front of me. How do you start a conversation with a guy who has a snake wrapped around his neck? Do you say, “Hey! Nice snake!” Sounds kind of weird, right? So, not knowing what to say, I yelled out, “Yo, what kind of snake is that?”

He turned around and informed me that it was a python. We made small talk for a few moments, during which he informed me that he feeds live mice to the snake. Then I summoned my courage and invited all three of the guys to church. They politely thanked me and we went our separate ways. It was a small victory for me.

I don’t know if any of those guys will come to church, but I sure hope they do. Jesus loved hanging out with prostitutes and tax collectors, and I think he would probably enjoy hanging out with those guys as well. And I know that my church would welcome them too.

Maybe he could leave his snake at home though…

  • Christin

    That’s great! I really hope they come :)

  • lisa

    YAY for your victory, Stephen!! I can relate completely to everything you said.
    . Thanks for your humility and for sharing your struggles. I was also convicted regarding the charitable judgment thing… thanks. And yes, we would definitely welcome them at church! Heck, if my kids are in town, the snake would be welcome too!

  • Vince

    You are a gifted story teller, Stephen. Amusing and thought-provoking.

  • Elaine

    Thank You, Father, for bringing those guys Stephen's way and thank You for giving Stephen the courage to speak. Help us, Lord, so that Stephen's second thought will always be our first thought.

    And I'll be on the look-out for Mr. Snake-Handler…I admit, he sounds a little scary to me but on the other hand, he might feel the same way about this middle-age, homeschooling mother. :-)

  • elohimito

    I think one thing that has prevented me from inviting ppl to church is when I ask myself what the purpose of the church is (for believers, not unbelievers, to be built up by teaching and fellowship).

    But then am I supposed to try to get into a deep relationship with everyone I meet and try to discuss theological things until they convert, at which point I can invite them to my church…?

    I don't want to get to the point where I never put any effort in, merely inviting ppl to church and let the pastor explain what I should have, and pray the HS moves on their heart…

  • LeighAnn

    so cool!!