Mark 16:15-16 “And he said unto them, Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.“
Most of us encounter strangers on a daily basis; be it in the market place, on the street, during public assemblies and in a host of other venues too numerous to mention. For the most part, we pass by and perhaps have a brief interraction such as a busines transaction or a casual “hello” before continuing with “our” plan for the day. We don’t know their name, where they come from, or what their dreams are. We have no idea if their life has been one of relative comfort or one of repeated chaos such as a lingering illness, lacking of basic necessities, or abuse at the hands of others. Their attire may offer hints as to their current occupation or interests and their demeanor may offer clues concerning their personality or their general outlook on things. Their history concerning spiritual matters will probably not be forthcoming in a non-interractive encounter; even if they have an appearance of belonging to a certain sect. We’ll not know if they have ever been truly presented with the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12) and if so, what their response was.
Another unknown will be what’s transpiring in a persons heart. As I was writing the above paragraph, Brother Andrews book “Secret believers” came to mind which tells of citizens in a predominantly muslim country coming to Jesus under the most incredible of circumstance. One man obtained a bible and began reading the gospels. While reading the sermon on the mount he became fascinated with Jesus and his teachings. The moment of truth came one Friday when he was at the mosque. After prayer, he asked “how come we never talk about Isa? (Jesus) I mean, when I read about him, I see God.” Needless to say, nobody saw it coming, except the Lord who opened the eyes of this man at a most interesting moment. When we meet another, they may appear to be a diehard muslim, talk of being a die-hard agnostic, or what have you. Yet they could be on the verge of having their eyes opened and not even be aware of it. Truly God opens the blinded eyes and gives the increase.
Despite all of the unknown variables, there are certain things that we will know about even the strangest of strangers.
( 1 ) They are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.
( 2 ) God loves them and desires to have a relationship with them. He has the hairs on their head numbered and is interested in every aspect of their lives.
( 3 ) They have sinned and come short of Gods glory because all of us have sinned. God is completely holy and cannot allow sin in his presence.
( 4 ) Jesus Christ paid for their sins when he shed his blood on Calvary. Their debt of sin has been paid for and salvation is theirs for the asking.
( 5 ) They will abide; in one of two places, forever. When a person comes into the world, the fabric of the everlasting is forever altered. There will never be another moment in which that person doesn’t exist.
This all sounds very elementary, and yet these are things that we don’t consider as we should. If we did, we all would be about our Fathers business with a fervor like never before. (Huge “note to self” on this one!) We would, in effect, turn the world upside down everywhere we set foot. Everything in this world; the monuments, the breathtaking landscapes, the precious metals, the manifestations of better living through science and what have you will someday cease to be. But when we look into the eyes of another person, we are looking at “forever.” Not only will that individual remain throughout the eons to come, they will remember all of their encounters here. They will remember their encounter with us and whether or not we told them about Jesus. Every word that we say and every action that we take will either promote gathering to Christ or scattering away. With eternity only a heartbeat away from each of us, it’s imperative to about reching the lost and making the most of every moment.
Over the past two years, many topics have been addressed here of which I felt “completely inadequate” to write about as they touched on shortcomings and faults that I wrestle with. This post will undoubtedly top that list of “inadequates” as I have blown more divine appointments and failed to take advantage of more opportunities than I can even think about. When I think of the sheer volume of strangers that I encounter in a given week; even in a predominantly rural setting, it’s mind numbing. To think of all the times that I was just too busy to even strike up a conversation; let alone bring that conversation to issues of eternal significance is almost too much to bear. This post in intended to stir up the saints; especially the one sitting here, 5 miles west of Constantine Michigan, as “time is simply running out.” Every hour of every day, time runs out for thousands as their journey through the valley of decisions comes to its end. When we pass one on the street, we do so with no promise that either of us will still be in the land of the living when the sun rises tomorrow morning.
Proverbs 27:1 “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”
Today is Saturday, August 23, 2008; a day that will never pass by again. My prayer is that we would be mindful of the shortness of time (not only prophetically but insofar as a lifetime is concerned) and the unfolding tragedies taking place all around us of souls passing into eternity without Jesus. There are souls in eternity this very moment who, just yesterday, were working at their jobs, running errands, mowing the yard, watching television (why, I don’t know) and engaging in all of the activities that consume varying portions of our time. I know a lot of people who are unsaved and each one is a “disaster waiting to happen.” If this post seems redundant, it’s just that the seriousness of this matter is impossible to over-emphasize. Again, this post is a huge “note to self” as I have squandered so many opportunities that I’m wrestling with feelings of acute inadequacy in writing this. Nonetheless, it’s been on my heart all week and my prayer is to be more diligent concerning this very important matter.
I wish to all, a blessed weekend in Jesus.
I Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give answer to every man that asketh of you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
I Peter 4:11 “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
August 24,2008 Update (2217) My other blog, Twilight Theater has been re-activated and a new post was placed there earlier today.