Last month I watched a church service from New Mexico that was streamed live from a local park as they celebrated July 4th. The service was inspirational, patriotic and offered an altar call at the end of the program. It appeared that hundreds of people went forward to receive Christ in response to the call.
The following weekend, I tuned into a livestream from this same church. The pastor shared that over 500 people accepted Christ during that Independence Day celebration! One woman in particular, had been invited to the holiday celebration by a close friend. The surprising part of the woman’s story, though, was that just a few days after accepting Christ – she was tragically killed in a car accident.
As I processed the story of this stranger’s sudden death, I couldn’t help but pray for her family and friends. While her death was unexpected and tragic, I imagine the woman who extended the holiday invitation was praising God that her friend said “YES” to Jesus when she did.
Since hearing the story, my brain has been on full “TILT” with all of the “What Ifs” in this situation. What if the woman who invited her friend to the church service would have talked herself out of extending the invite — because that is what we do.
What if the woman who passed away suddenly would have stopped herself from going forward because of … pride, embarrassment or any number of internal arguments that the average person engages in when confronted with an alter call? Or worse – what if the accident would have occurred one week earlier?
What if the pastor would not have extended an invitation to go forward or what if the church couldn’t get enough volunteers to help with the outreach so there was NO service to begin with?
They say timing is everything and luckily for this random woman and hundreds of others who accepted Christ that July day – God’s timing was impeccable.
Every day we may encounter innumerable strangers who are lost and bound for hell. How many opportunities do we have each day to share the salvation message of Jesus Christ – but for whatever reason, we remain silent?
I heard an encouraging message about “witnessing” recently that said we don’t need to worry about sharing a 10-point message on the life of Jesus. We don’t need to have hundreds of Scriptures memorized and we don’t need to have an answer for doctrines, denominations and dinosaurs. All we need to do, is look for an opportunity to tell people our story. Simply put – tell people what Jesus has done for us.
We never know when a day may be our last. We need to be proactive and share Jesus with the lost whenever and wherever possible. I’ve not always been the best at this – but an unknown stranger’s death in Alburquerque reminds me that I simply need to get better and stop making excuses. One way or another – eternity comes for us ALL.
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)