WITNESS TO THEM NOW
As Christians, we all know that we should witness to our family, friends, anyone and everyone. But oftentimes that is easier said than done. Maybe it is shyness that keeps you from sharing your faith. Maybe you don't want others to think that you are judging them. Maybe you intend on telling others about their need for Christ as their Savior, but you just haven't gotten around to doing it. Well, I want to share a personal story to illustrate the importance of witnessing to people today and not "later."
One day I was hanging out with my twin brother. I was tagging along with him as he was driving around town, going on various errands. We weren't doing anything terribly exciting -- a trip to the DMV, Home Depot, that kind of stuff. My brother is into construction and also real estate. He builds homes and then sells the homes that he builds, or sometimes he rents them out. Yes, Reggie is a very busy fellow.
Well, as we were visiting a particular home that he was working on with his crew, I met a young lady who lived up the street from the work site. The young lady's name was Teresa. She was an acquaintance of my brother and had come by the site to say hello. She was, I would guess, in her mid to late 20s. She seemed like a nice enough person. When it was time for a break, the three of us went to go get some lunch together.
During lunch I found out that Teresa had gone through various treatments for cervical cancer. She had to have a hysterectomy and still had a few minor health problems, but the doctors told her that they believed she would be okay. She said that they told her it seemed as though all of the cancer was gone.
Well, after that day, I saw Teresa around the neighborhood a couple more times. But once my brother was finished with that job, I never saw her again. I would ask my brother from time to time, "How is Teresa?" And he would tell me that she was doing fine.
On one occasion I asked my brother, "Have you talked to Teresa lately? How is she doing?" And he told me that she wasn't doing too well. Teresa's cancer had come back.
When my brother told me that, I said to myself, "I should stop by and see her. Maybe I will take her some flowers." I did not know Teresa very well at all, but nonetheless I told myself that I would pay her a visit. I was concerned about how she was holding up. She was so young and had already gone through so much. I wondered if she knew my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Was she going through this time alone, or was she resting in the Lord's strength?
Yes, I made a promise to myself that I would pay Teresa a visit. The next time I was in her area, I would stop by her house. As a matter of fact, I told myself I would even bring her a little book of devotions that I had just read. It had the perfect little story in it about a woman who had had cancer and how the Lord's strength was made perfect in her weakness. And I told myself that while I was there visiting with Teresa, I would make it a point to find out whether or not she had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. I would bring my Bible and show her that no matter what, she could stand strong and fight her cancer and even have victory over death itself.
Well, a little time passed, and I still had not gone to see Teresa. It's not that I hadn't been in the neighborhood. I had visited Reggie several times, and he lived not five minutes from where Teresa lived. And it is not that I didn't think about her. Whenever I went to visit my brother at his house, I would drive right by a Conroy's flower shop. For some reason seeing that Conroy's always reminded me "Go visit Teresa." And I would say to that voice in my head, "I will go see her next time." But you know how it is when you put something off until "next time."
Anyway, one morning my brother called me for something or another. We chatted for a few minutes and were about to get off the phone. And then I asked him, as I usually did, "How is Teresa?" To that question he answered, "Oh, Teresa died the other day."
When I heard those words, I could barely speak. I don't even think I said goodbye before hanging up the phone. I just sat there in bed and started crying and crying. My husband was looking at me and asking what was wrong. I could not stop crying to explain what had happened. I felt a terrible sadness that reached to the pit of my soul. How could I explain to my husband that I felt such anguish over the death of someone that I barely knew?
Yes, Teresa's death affected me very deeply. And do you know why that is? It is because at the moment that I heard that she had died, I understood for the first time a verse I had read in the Bible. The verse is found in Ezekiel 33:8. It reads, "When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die, if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand."
You see, because of my slackness, Teresa may have died in her sins. The Lord has entrusted me with the responsibility to preach the Word, and I was derelict in my duties. I felt that I had let my God and this young woman down.
All of the "good intentions" in the world mean nothing at all once a person is already dead. True, Teresa may have already been saved. She may have died and gone straight to heaven. But on the other hand, she may have died and gone straight to hell, and I did not do one thing to try to lead her to my Savior. I did not know what Teresa's ultimate fate was, and I felt as though her blood was on my hands.
I say all of this to stress that we must witness to them now. We cannot put it off until later. Later may be too late. It does not matter if they get mad at us. So what if they don't want to listen. If you do not tell your family, friends, neighbors, and the stranger on the street of their need to be washed in Christ's saving blood, who will? If hell is going to be filled, it should not be filled with people who you and I were too busy or too scared to share the Gospel with. Remember, the wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but God says, "his blood will I require at thine hand" if you do not warn him from his wicked way.
(Here is a great tract that illustrates the importance of sharing your faith with others. It is called The Letter.)
* He that winneth souls is wise (Proverbs 11:30b).
* Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels (Mark 8:38).
* Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head (Ezekiel 33:4).Blow the trumpet!