The list of tools and supplies kept at a zoo would probably boggle your mind. Some are obvious: rakes, shovels, dish soap, and duct tape. Others are a little more obscure: Benebac, Necton, and granulated chlorine. Each one has a specific purpose whether common throughout the zoo or specific to the department. Mostly, these items are there to make it possible or simply easier for the zookeepers to do their jobs.
One such item sits beside the door to the Hatchery (the kitchen and office for the bird department). It is a large bag of rock salt. My zoo doesn’t get too much snow in the winter but we do occasionally get ice storms that coat everything in a slick layer of ice. For keeper safety, we keep salt around for melting pathways. The other day, I noticed the large, blue plastic bag sitting by the door and wondered why we were keeping it there in the middle of summer. I contemplated moving it and noticed the hand hold cut into the top of the bag. Next to it were the words “E-Z Grip Handle!” Further down the bag near a resealable zipper were the words “Easy Open Package.” It made me think back to a conversation that had happened in the same room years before.
All of my coworkers know that I’m a Christian. One day I walked into the Hatchery and one coworker greeted me with the question, “Hey, you’re a Baptist, right?” I was slightly nervous about being grilled about my denomination but it turned out that she (a Catholic) had been talking to a Baptist friend the night before about their doctrinal differences and she was looking for some clarification from another source. For half and hour, I tried to answer her questions and ended up being able to share the Gospel with her and another coworker who happened to be in the room at the same time. When I finished, the other coworker said, “I don’t know. That just seems too easy.” Those words have stuck with me as one of the saddest reasons for not accepting salvation. We as human beings seem to expect our tools to have “E-Z Grip Handles” and “Easy Open Packaging” but for some reason we think salvation should be hard or nearly impossible to obtain.
In Mark 10:17, a man ran up to Jesus and asked “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He wasn’t looking for an instant fix or a free ride. He wanted to know what he could do. Jesus gave him a task by telling him to keep the commandments and then go and sell all he had, donate it to the poor, and devote his life to following Jesus. Like many people today who believe that only people who “do good things” go to heaven, the young man found this request too hard and just gave up. The key to salvation is that we don’t do anything. In Mark 10:27 Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.”
The Gospel that I got to share with my coworkers is one of the most simple things in the world. There is even a road map for it that we often call “The Romans Road” because most of the verses are found in the book of Romans. If we were able to look at this map on MapQuest or Google Maps, the directions might look something like this:
Point A – Starting Point: “I am a sinner.” Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Point B – Destination: “Salvation.”
1. The road you are currently on is a dead end. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
2. Find the nearest provided turn ramp. Romans 5:8 “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” and 2 Corinthians 5:21 “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
3. Make a U-turn. Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
4. Arriving at your destination. Romans 10:13 “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
That’s it. Just a few simple directions. It’s as “E-Z” as picking up a bag by the provided handle.