Last Friday night, I took my 7 year old son and 5 year old daughter to their respective events with our local church which fall under the category of “cubbies” for my daughter and “tree climbers” for my son. Now I usually help out at tree climbers since the dad’s are an essential part of this event (unlike the cubbies where they prefer that parents stay away for lack of space to fit everyone in).
Unbeknownst to me, however, I wasn’t supposed to be there. I would find that out, quite quickly, as I began to participate. I found myself unable to “engage” myself in what was happening. Feeling distressed because of this, I lay my head against the wall (for lack of better place to pray), closed my eyes, and began to pray. I was simply honest with the Lord about how I felt (not knowing what else to say). And the Lord answered, very clearly. “Lord, I feel weird. I feel distressed. My mind is not here. It seems to be … back at the church building (where I had just previously dropped off my daughter, for her event was located there, while my son’s was located in a school gymnasium a few blocks away).”
Immediately, when I had confessed this to the Lord, I felt the Lord directing me to go back to the church building, from where I had just come. I did not know why, but all I could think of was, “Well, the week earlier, my daughter had sprained her ankle, and I want to make sure that she doesn’t play too hard on it this week.” So I mentioned to a few of the men there that I could no longer participate; I needed to go back to the church building to check up on my daughter’s ankle. I had a real peace about that and headed back to the church building (my son would be all right and did not mind my leaving as dad was a “non essential”, in order for him to have fun, anyway!).
While walking back to the church building, a real peace was with me. I knew I was heading in the right direction. Not only this, but I also had a real peace about something else: I didn’t need to rush back to see my daughter; she was in good hands and would be okay. Hum… Based on what the Lord was saying to me, I was not really going back to the church to see my daughter after all. I kept walking and eventually made it to the front door of the building. As I stepped inside, I noticed that a mission conference speaker was given a sermon. Ah … that was it, after all. The Lord had wanted me back at the building to hear what this man had to say.
I began to settle down and listen to this man preach. Soon, he gave this impelling real-life illustration on the importance of sharing our faith with others with whom we find ourselves. You see, this man had been with one man on one particular Friday, and had wanted to share the gospel message with this man but had reasoned within himself, saying, “I will tell him on Monday.” But that weekend, the same man was brutally killed, and stuffed into the trunk of an automobile that was then set on fire. Later, the man’s charred body could not be identified; only dental records were able to identify this man.
Then, the evangelist/pastor said something like, “I always get a big ‘thump’ in my chest when I think about that.” Then, the preacher went on to teach about Ezekiel 3:17-21:
“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezekiel 3:17-21)
The point here is that we are called to be “salt and light” — that is, effective witnesses — wherever we find ourselves, as Jesus said:
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
Use your time wisely and don’t fail to ask God to help those around you and to help you to reach them for Christ. This really is the point of Ezekiel 3:17-21.
The story of the man whom he failed to share the gospel with is a poignant example. Perhaps today you find yourself saying, “I’ve done things like that. I’m guilty.” The good news is that through Christ, you can be forgiven (if you confess your sins to him, in accordance with 1 John 1:9). Like the pastor who himself confessed that he had not done what he should have, and failed, you can still be used mightily of the Lord to reach hundreds, if not thousands, if not millions of people for the sake of Christ! You can begin to do that today, if you’re willing to lay down your life for him and serve him.
Please join with me in prayer.
“Heavenly Father, I ask you for your forgiveness for not reaching out to those with whom you have put me, or for even praying for their salvation or asking you for help in reaching them. Lord, I have been complacent and I ask you for forgiveness (confess whatever other sins you are convicted of before you continue the prayer. Spend as much time as you need.). Lord, cleanse me, heal me, and use me, your servant, to reach the lost for Christ. In Jesus’s precious name I pray. Amen.”